What to do about dental malpractice?

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What to do about dental malpractice?

My wife went for a routine root canal. During the procedure the dentist did not notice an extra canal and the irrigation solution (sodium hyroclorite) was shot into her canal causing massive swelling of her neck and face. She required a trip to the ER and then was admitted to the hospital for 3+ days. She was not able to swallow or talk. Swelling still has not gone down. What options do we have for collecting medical expenses and loss of wages along with compensation for her personal well being?

Asked on December 10, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When your wife completes her medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point where no further improvement is anticipated, she should obtain her medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Prior to filing a lawsuit against the dentist for negligence (malpractice is negligence), it may be possible to settle the case with the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier.  Your wife's personal injury claim should include the medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of the injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If your wife is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier, she should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the dentist.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that a reasonable dentist in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  If the case is settled with the insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, your wife will need to file her lawsuit for negligence against the dentist prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or she will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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