What can be done in a case of dental malpractice?

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What can be done in a case of dental malpractice?

My mother had dental work to remove a tooth, just over a year ago. The dentist removed the wrong tooth, leaving her with a missing tooth and the original broken tooth. She was too scared to use the same practice and she failed to pursue a claim or ask for her money back. Now the broken tooth has become infected and she may have to pay for a root canal. As a self-employed person, she isn’t covered by insurance. Can she request that the dental practice pay for this treatment? Can she still make a claim, even though a year has past? What are her options?

Asked on September 25, 2010 under Malpractice Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) In terms of submitting a claim, your mother should consult with a malpractice attorney immediately. Whenever medical care, including dental care, is negligent and causes injury, pain, disability, or financial loss/cost, there may be a malpractice claim. Removing the wrong tooth, not treating the condition she came in for, and contributing to a later infection and need for more advanced care, are all possible grounds for a malpractice claim.

2) However, there is defined period of time in which to sue, called a statute of limitations. If a claim is not brought within it, there is no right to sue or recover. That's why your mother should speak with a lawyer immediately, before more time passes. If in the circumstances of her case, she still has time on the statute, the lawyer can file a suit for her. If the statute has expired, on the other hand, there is little leverage your mother will have to seek compensation.


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