Can I sue my dentist for injury after surgery? 34 Answers as of July 08, 2013On Thursday morning I went in to have my teeth whitened at my dental clinic using the Zoom whitening method. This technology involves covering the gums with a protective gel then the teeth is covered with peroxide then light is shined on the teeth to whiten them. After the hour long operation, my lips were burnt, whitened, and swollen. It's now Saturday morning and it's still swollen, more painful, and starting to peel. The only thing I got from the dental office is my money back and an apology. They claimed my lips overreacted to the procedure but I think it's negligence (how else did the whitening gel got on my lips when they're supposed to be covered?). Do I have a case? I have pictures. The operation was not performed by a dentist but by her assistant.
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
You can sue the dentist, and you likely have a decent case. You will have to show that the dentist's negligence in applying the whitener caused your damages. Picture are very helpful in an injury case. The fact that it was the dental assistant is not a problem as long as she was an employee of the dentist, the dentist is vicariously liable for the assistant's negligent acts.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Link & Smith, P.C. | Houston Smith
Any case against a medical professional in Georgia is a serious undertaking that requires tens of thousands of dollars in expenses. Most lawyers will not take a case unless the likely outcome is a substantial verdict, meaning one in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also, to bring suit against a medical professional, O.C.G.A. Sec. 9-11-9.1 requires that the Plaintiff file an Affidavit of an expert attesting to at least one negligent act. In many situations, a poor outcome does not indicate negligence or malpractice. Unless a dentist tells you that your dentist was negligent, and is willing to sign an affidavit to that point which will be filed in Court, you cannot bring a claim against your dentist.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
I believe you may have a case based upon the facts as you have described them, but in a dental malpractice case, only another local expert may be able to determine whether or not the dentist will have breached the standard of care. You will need to personally visit with an attorney, who can have an expert review your case to see if a malpractice claim is truly viable.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
If your injury resolves with no permanent damage, your case is probably not worth bringing. It will cost more to bring the case to court than your likely to get from a jury. If there is permanent impairment, you might have a case. As you said "I think its negligence". You need a dental expert to review what happened and give you an opinion as to whether there was negligence. In any medical or dental malpractice case, you have to have that, no matter how much it appears to be negligence to you.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation if you call my office at either of the numbers listed below. If my office accepts your case, there is no fee charged unless we are able to obtain a settlement for you.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
Dental malpractice is an area of Virginia personal injury law where consultation with an experienced injury attorney is a must. First of all, have you been to doctor for your injuries. I think it is important to make sure that you receive proper care for what seem to be fairly serious burns. The health care provider will also be able to document the extent of the burns and chart your recovery. Once you have recovered, the injury lawyer will be in a position to advise you on case value and how best to proceed. It does seem that you have a case, but the important thing right now is to get treatment to minimize pain and scarring. Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
If you find a dentist who agrees with you you might have a dental malpractice case. Unless you have a permanent injury the case will not have much value. Have you asked the dentist to simply inform his insurance carrier about the problem so they can investigate?
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
Is it that whitening gel got on your lips that caused the damage, or is it that your lips are unusually sensitive to UV light? If it's the latter, then it may be that the dentist had no way of knowing that would happen. Or, it may be that dentists have a way of finding out, and he failed to perform the test. In any event, malpractice cases are difficult, time consuming and expensive, so it may not be worthwhile to pursue.
Answer Applies to: New York
The Torkzadeh Law Firm | Reza Torkzadeh
There are many dental malpractice cases similar to yours. I suggest you immediately seek the advice of an attorney who has handled these types of cases who can properly evaluate your claim and tell you what your next steps should be.
Answer Applies to: California
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
You might. I'd be happy to look at the photos and provide you with a free consultation. It is hard to tell without further research into the procedure and the known risks. Regardless, I'm sorry for your injuries. That sounds terribly painful!
Answer Applies to: Missouri
LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
Any lawyer who agrees to take this case will have to evaluate the case based on the medical records and then determine whether the complications are disclosed prior to the procedure. It is likely that there is no enough here for a malpractice case as the injuries do not seem permanent.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
Medical Malpractice is a complicated tort. Not every medical procedure that doesn't turn out as expected rises to the level of malpractice. With any tort (civil claim of injury) there must be three components. First you must establish a standard of care. Essentially this means what is the standard procedure that should be followed given a particular medical set of symptoms, or a particular desired result. Since there is rarely a laundry list type guide as to what should be done in any one case, given all the variables associated with medicine, such as age, weight, diet, family history, symptoms, just to name a few, you really need another doctor to state what the standard of care should be in any particular set of circumstances. Then, you need to have a medical specialist ( i. e. doctor) state to a medical certainty, that not only was that standard of care not followed, but that it was the deviation from the standard of care that caused your injury. Now, even assuming that you establish all of that, you still need to establish what are the damages that resulted from that breach of medical care. A few days of soreness or a cut that heals or a malady that you may suffer for some tome may well be damages, but are they sufficient damages to go through all of the work associated with proving all of the above. If this sounds like an enormous hill to scale, you are right, it is. That is why not many attorneys, including myself, are willing to take on potential medical malpractice cases where there is not catastrophic injury. As you probably know, lawyers are paid on a contingent fee basis for Personal Injury/Tort/ Medical Malpractice cases. For a lawyer to do all of the work involved in bringing one of these suits (and I haven't even addressed the medical tribunal, which is a three member group of professionals that evaluate a case to see if it even merits a suit), there must be quite a bit of potential available. I would never tell you that you do not have a case. However, given all I have explained above, you can see where it may be difficult to find a lawyer willing to take on your case. Some cases settle early and do not have to go through all of the steps I have outlined above. Some are very complex and require even more work. There is no way to know up front who will settle quickly and not put a client through the paces outlined here. But any lawyer who has no intention of going the distance with a case, should think long and hard before taking it on. If you think your case is worth pursuing, call attorneys and see what they say. Every lawyer is different, has a different case load and a different opinion of what he or she is willing to take on. I wish you the best with your situation.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C. | Dan Woska
Whether you have, a case will largely depend on whether you can find a contingency fee attorney who believes he/she can prove damages and knows an expert in the area. If you have suffered some type of permanent injury, verified in a written and signed affidavit by another dentist you could proceed with a case. It is now a required part of filing any medical malpractice claim that the affidavit of an expert be filed with the petition. You now have to prove your case through expert testimony (the affidavit) before you can file and pursue your case. If you are unable to find a dentist who will sign an affidavit saying it was malpractice you cannot proceed with your case under Oklahoma law.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
If you develop permanent scarring or you are a model and will lose substantial income because you can't work while you heal, then it may be worth pursuing with a lawyer. Otherwise, it's a small claims case that you should pursue on your own.
Answer Applies to: New York
Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
It is probably too soon to know if you have a case that would merit a legal action against the Dentist. Professional malpractice cases are very expensive. If your gums get better and the problem goes away, it is unlikely that the cost of bringing the action would be less than what you could recover, in which you would lose money bringing the action. Nonetheless, you should talk to a lawyer right away. He/she can help you determine what you need to do in order to document what happened, and he/she will let you know your options in terms of bringing a case.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
You might try to find an attorney that handles these kids of cases by searching on the internet. They could probably tell you if its okay for the assistant to do this kind of work and what qualification he or she needs to do this treatment. You also need to look at your consent form. If the form lists burnt lips as a potential consequence, then you probably have little chance to overcome the consent form. They often lie and say they verbally told you it was a potential consequence, but if its not in writing, then at least you have an argument to make. Sure sounds like they did not take the appropriate precaution to protect your lips from the light source. If that's the case, it would be negligence. If you find an attorney that handles these cases, they will know what the proper protocol should have been and whether they failed to adhere to that.
Answer Applies to: California
Oliver Law Office | Jami Oliver
It sounds as if something went terribly wrong during the whitening process, which could be the result of oversight, being rushed, or just inexperience. Regardless, you should consult with an attorney who handles personal injury or malpractice matters. They may want to know if you signed a release before the procedure and what side effects were listed on that release. Either way, you should consult with an experienced attorney.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
In Florida, you cannot sue a health care provider without first getting all the records and getting an affidavit from a "similar health care provider" stating that there exist reasonable grounds to support a claim for negligence. Without such an affidavit, your case will be dismissed. Go speak with a lawyer who knows how to navigate the minefield of bringing claims against health care providers.
Answer Applies to: Florida