What to do if I had a deep cleaning by dental assistant and she numbed the right side of my tongue permanently?

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What to do if I had a deep cleaning by dental assistant and she numbed the right side of my tongue permanently?

It is 6 months later and my tongue is still numb; it occasionally has sharp pains and it has impaired my tasting ability. I have not seen a medical specialist about this yet since I am currently unemployed and uninsured.

Asked on April 17, 2013 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You should contact a medical malpractice attorney.  The attorney can refer you to a doctor who is paid out of the settlement of the case.  If that second doctor writes a report supporting a malpractice claim, it may be possible to settle the case with dentist's malpractice insurance carrier.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your malpractice claim) would include your medical bills, pain and suffering and documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports (especially from the second doctor) will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the dental/medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the dentist prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

Medical/dental malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical/dental practitioner in the community would have exercised  under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  The dentist is liable for the negligence of the dental assistant because an employer is liable for the negligence of an employee which occurs in the course and scope of employment.


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