Most people are familiar with the concept of medical negligence claims – but what if you have problems after a dental procedure? What if a dentist or oral surgeon makes a serious error that leads to unintended consequences?
In fact, dental negligence cases are common in Australia and fall under the ‘umbrella’ of medical negligence. Both dentists and doctors – as well as nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers – owe a duty of care to all patients.
Dentists must comply with the Dental Board of Australia Code of Conduct for registered health practitioners, which outlines guidelines for practicing good care, communication with patients, professional behaviour and much more.
Types of claims
There are many types of dental negligence claims, but some of the most common are:
- Issues with extractions
- Treatment without patient consent
- Failing to refer a patient to the proper specialist (for instance, if a dentist completes a procedure that should have been handled by an oral surgeon)
- Post-treatment infections
- Nerve damage resulting from a procedure
- Complications with dental implants or implant surgeries
- Problems with anesthesia, incorrect medications or drug reactions
- Periodontal disease or oral cancer (eg. failure to diagnose in a timely manner).
As with all medical negligence claims , if you or a loved one have suffered serious consequences as a result of improper treatment, your best option is to discuss your case with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible. Under South Australian law, you must file a claim within three years.
Keep in mind that just experiencing pain or discomfort after a dental procedure is not enough to establish a case. Also, being unsatisfied with the results – for instance, if you had cosmetic dental work done and were unhappy with the appearance of the veneers – does not necessarily mean you have a case either.
In order to successfully claim dental negligence, you and your lawyer must be able to prove:
- There was a breach of duty
- The treatment given did not meet a professional standard of care, and
- The breach was the cause of the injury, damage, resulting problems, etc.
Can I receive financial compensation?
If your legal team is able to prove negligence and causation, you may be able to receive financial compensation (either in or out of court), including damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Expenses, including medical costs to repair damage caused by faulty treatment
- Lost work time or earnings due to the problems
- Travel expenses (eg. transport to and from a hospital or clinic for care).
If you believe you were injured or suffered harm as a result of improper treatment or have any questions about filing a dental negligence claim, please contact us to speak with a member of our legal team.