Medical malpractice can happen in many different healthcare facilities, including in dental offices. Dental malpractice can occur any time you visit your dentist’s office. While most of us don’t anticipate suffering a severe or life-threatening personal injury when we schedule a bi-annual teeth cleaning or a routine dental surgery, dental mistakes happen with some frequency in the Chicago area.
Dentists and other dental professionals can be subject to a dental malpractice claim if their negligence results in a patient’s injury. How do you know if you have a strong dental malpractice claim? It’s important to understand the elements of a medical negligence claim and to discuss your case with a dedicated Naperville dental malpractice attorney.
Learning More About Dental Malpractice in Illinois
Before you think about filing a dental malpractice claim, you should have an idea of who might be liable for your injuries. The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation requires dental professionals to be licensed. In general, dentists, dental hygienists, and other dental specialists may be held liable for personal injuries that result from negligence or mistakes during a dental appointment.
In our state, the Illinois Dental Practice Act (225 ILCS 25/) governs the practice of dentistry. Generally speaking, the elements of a dental negligence claim will look very similar to those of a medical malpractice lawsuit. To have a successful dental malpractice case, you will need to be able to prove the following elements:
- You had a dentist-patient relationship with your dental care provider at the time of your injury, creating a duty of care (usually this element is the easiest to meet because such a relationship is established when you visit a dentist or other professional to have services performed);
- Your dentist breached the duty of care she owed you through your dentist-patient relationship by acting negligently;
- You sustained an injury because of the dentist’s breach of the duty of care; and
- The dentist’s negligence caused your injury (you’ll need to be able to show a cause and effect).
Determining what constitutes a breach of the duty of care can be quite complicated. As such, it’s essential to seek advice from an experienced Naperville dental malpractice lawyer.
Common Types of Dental Malpractice Injuries
What are some of the most common types of injuries that arise in dental malpractice cases? While injuries can vary widely and each case has its own nuances, some of the most frequent injuries that come up in dental negligence claims include but are not limited to:
- Infections resulting from improperly sterilized equipment;
- Failure to diagnose a dental condition, such as periodontal disease or oral cancer;
- Misdiagnosis of a dental condition;
- Improperly administered anesthesia or complications from anesthesia;
- Root canal injuries;
- Oral nerve injuries;
- Unnecessary tooth extraction;
- Other unnecessary treatment;
- Delay in treatment; and
- Other complications.
If you believe you have a dental malpractice claim, you should contact a Naperville personal injury attorney as soon as possible to begin the process of filing a lawsuit. An advocate with Woodruff Johnson & Evans can answer your questions today.