If my jaw was broken during a dental procedure causing me many surgeries, do I have any legal recourse?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my jaw was broken during a dental procedure causing me many surgeries, do I have any legal recourse?

I was seen by an oral surgeon to have an impacted wisdom tooth removed and she broke my jaw in the process. She did not catch it on the X-ray or during the exam therefore thinking she did not do it putting off any medical attention that I needed. I finally had to seek a second opinion where they verified that my job was broken. After several months I was finally able to seek treatment for

osteomyelitis. Treatment consisted of partial removal of my right mandible replaced by a titanium plate and bone marrow from my left knee. I have partial paralysis in my right jaw lips and chin that I will never regain and this will be an ongoing medical issue that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. I have to travel 4 hours away every appointment.

Asked on January 8, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, you may well have a malpractice case in which you can potentially right cover your out of pocket medical costs and "pain and suffering" for the long term impairment and effects you describe. Malpractice is essentially medical negligence or unreasonable carelessness. Breaking a patient's jaw during a procedure (unless done as part of treatment, such as to reset it) and then not noticing that it is broken, the way you describe it, appears to have been negligent. It would be worth your while to consult with a malpractice attorney about your case; many such attorneys provide free initial consultations, and you can ask about that before making an appointment.
That said there may be something which could reduce the compensation to which you would otherwise be entitled. It apparently took several months for you to get treatment; if any of that delay was yours, such as not seeking medical care once you became of a problem, if that delay made your condition worse, you may not be able to receive compensation for that part or portion of your condition caused by your own delay, since a party cannot recover compensation for his or her own actions or inaction.

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