Do I need legal recourse if a DDS messed up your mouth after you have put in thousands of dollars? 48 Answers as of May 29, 2013

My daughters Orthodontist "dropped the ball" on her braces after a year or more into her braces. The ortho admits to this and admits I have every right to be upset. A procedure that should have only been 18 months is now going to be another year, possibly two and we are looking at having teeth pulled as well.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Office of Charles M. Vacca Jr. | Charles Martin Vacca Jr.
This is known as medical malpractice (negligence).
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/13/2012
Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A.
Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. | Charles Cartwright
If the Orthodontist's acts or omissions in the care and treatment of your daughter fell below the standard of care, you may have a claim.

Medical malpractice cases are complicated. I urge you to contact an attorney who practices in this area.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/13/2012
Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
Hire an experienced dental malpractice attorney
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/13/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
Yes...contact a dental malpractice attorney.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/13/2012
NOLAN LAW LLC | Joshua J. Nolan
It sounds as though you have a valid claim for dental malpractice. In that event, you may be able to recover for the additional expense you will incur as a result of the malpractice, as well as pain and suffering that your daughter may incur as a result of the additional dental services and possible loss of teeth. I encourage you to find a new dentist, then consult with an attorney about this matter.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/13/2012
    C Meryl Murphy, Attorney-at-Law, LLC
    C Meryl Murphy, Attorney-at-Law, LLC | Candace M Murphy
    You should consult an attorney that deals with medical malpractice issues. The attorney will be able to review your facts and determine whether or not you have a claim as well as be able to evaluate your damages.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Lee Law Group | Ernest Lee
    Dear friend, It appears as if you do have legal recourse. The orthodontist may have been negligent in his care of your daughter.

    Negligence occurs when a person performs in a way that a reasonably prudent person would say was below the standard expected under the circumstances. I would say that you, a reasonably prudent person, would say your DDS has performed below the usual expected standard.

    In fact, according to your question, I would even say your dentist would have to admit he performed negligently.

    You should contact an attorney and perhaps you can get some of your money back, even without suing, i.e., by demanding the DDS return some of your money and pay for your other losses that would not have occurred but for his negligent actions in lieu of suit. If he doesn't' t pay, you must not play, but should file a lawsuit. Call us so we can see what can be done.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    YES . . . you have legal recourse . . . it's call MEDICAL MALPRACTICE. You'll have to PROVE that Dentist committed NEGLIGENCE in treating your daughter. It won't be easy as you'll need your own MEDICAL EXPERT(S) to disprove Dentist's "standard of care" to daughter. MEDMAL can cost thousands even BEFORE filing the lawsuit. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    You should consider speaking with an attorney. The care fell below the standard of care expected from a DDS.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    Yes, I suggest finding a lawyer to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC
    Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC | Michael Lichtenberg
    Yes, you do have legal recourse - an action for professional malpractice. Damages would include all costs of fixing what the orthodontist has wrecked, plus pain and suffering. Emotional distress is very hard to get compensated unless it causes objectively confirmed physical consequences. A jury is likely to be sympathetic to the plight of a girl who is losing her natural teeth an a young age, so it might somewhat increase the compensation for pain and suffering. The orthodontist will likely offer your daughter free of charge treatment.

    Try to get this offer in writing. If you seriously considering litigation, you should get your daughter to another orthodontist just to have the damage to her teeth documented.

    The second orthodontist will also give you an estimate of the costs of the required treatment that might differ, significantly, from the estimate the specialist at fault has given. Consider retaining an attorney.

    Some specialists will take a case on contingency, which means that you will not have to pay any fees to the attorney until the case is settled or won at a trial. While it will not cost you anything out of pocket, the guidance you will receive from your counsel will prove invaluable.

    Even when the orthodontist's insurer offers to settle your claim, the amount they offer will depend hugely on how well the claim was handled prior to filing.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert | David W. Hibbert
    Legal recourse? You may have a right to some damages, however, dental malpractice claims are time consuming , costly , and often won by the dentist.

    Have you consulted another orthodontists regarding your daughter's condition? Talk to an experience dental malpractice attorney in your state. It's a complicated matter that deserves more attention than you'll get online.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    I suggest you change doctors. Then consult with an attorney about a possible action against the doctor that messed up. You may have something you may not. You need someone to examine all of the facts to make a determination about your case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray | Ronald D. Reemsnyder
    You and your daughter have a dental malpractice claim provided another dentist will swear that the treating dentist was negligent and injured your daughter.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    If dental malpractice has been committed then you do have legal recourse. I suggest you retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Yep, we will have to get an independent dental review. I started out representing the Insurance Companies and Doctor's Insurance Companies. I jumped the fence and started representing Victims in 1993.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    Medical malpractice cases in the great State of Washington are governed by statutes. RCW 7.70. The main question is usually whether the health care provider failed to follow the accepted standard of care in the field. RCW 7.70.030.

    There can also be causes of action for health care providers making promises they didn't fulfill, or acting without the informed consent of the patient. These cases are extremely difficult and require the testimony of an expert witness.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Only if you can get another orthodontist to give you an affidavit stating that dentist deviated from the standard of care. If the guy is a straight enough shooter to have admitted he dropped the ball, I'll bet if you approach him about finishing your daughter's case for free, he just might do it.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    It's called dental malpractice. People file suit for it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Gary L. Platt, Attorney at Law | Gary Platt
    If the doctor's treatment is deemed by a qualified expert to be beneath the minimum standard for that particular treatment, you may recover for damages by filing a malpractice lawsuit. You will need to hire an attorney and the attorney will need to have your daughter's dental records examined by an expert who can render the necessary opinion.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    Yes, you do have a right to pursue the matter. However, such a case can be very difficult. You must prove that the DDS acted outside the standard of care. This is very difficult to prove and can be a very complicated process. You should consult a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to review your options.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Hynum Law Office, LLC
    Hynum Law Office, LLC | G. Wayne Hynum
    It sounds like you may have a valid malpractice claim against the dentist.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    Yes you would have legal recourse on behalf of both you and your daughter.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Of course you do. You must have an opinion from another dentist who has the same type practice. If the matter has to be hashed out in court.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Possibly. For the case to be viable, you would probably need an Orthodontist to testify that the treating Orthodontist was negligent and that the ultimate outcome is worse than it would have been had there been no negligence. By that I mean, after the year or two of additional treatment, her teeth are not as straight and corrected as they would have been had the original procedure been done correctly. You might also be able to sue for hassle of the treatment taking longer than it should have even if the ultimate result is the same, but the damages for this might not justify a claim.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    In order to prove a dental malpractice case, a claimant must prove a failure to conform to accepted practice, resulting in an injury. A bad result is not enough, and if it is a "judgment call" by the doctor, there is no malpractice, even if the doctor made the wrong call. The orthodontist may be admitting that there was a bad result, but when push comes to shove, he/she will deny everything. Also: malpractice cases do not settle and you cannot take it on without a lawyer. If you are serious about pursuing this, posting questions on a website will not get you anywhere.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    Mesinschi Law Offices
    Mesinschi Law Offices | Denis-Andrei Mesinschi
    It does sound like you may very well have a claim here against the DDS and their insurer for the extra cost plus your daughters pain/suffering. I would hire yourself one of the Personal Injury firms from here that practice in your state and pursue this further.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    You need to consult with another dentist and determine if the second dentist will offer an opinion that the first dentist deviated from the standard of care (Dropped the ball).
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    You realize that there is little likelihood that the dentist will admit to anyone else that he "dropped the ball." So, it will be your word vs. his word. Now, assuming that you can prove that he "dropped the ball," you still have to prove that your daughter (and you) suffered damages due to the error. You have to show that the pulled teeth are due to the mistake, rather than that being part of the treatment even though it was later in time than it should have been. If you are really upset, you may call the Michigan State Dental Society. I believe that they are located in Detroit. They have an arbitration process which I had utilized in the past, and it was reasonably successful. If that does not work, then you may want to contact an attorney who specializes in dental malpractice. There is one such lawyer of whom I am aware.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    If this DDS did as most orthodontists do, he gave you an estimate of time and expense, and he has, according to your information, been forthright that he "has dropped the ball" I would ask him to commit, in writing, his agreement to complete the course of treatment to the point of the original anticipated results, for that estimated cost. If he will not, please consider calling my office for additional counsel and advice.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    Brankey & Smith, P.C. | Rodney L. Smith
    Yes...possibly. You would have a dental malpractice case and should consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    You don't specify what the "mess up" was, so it is hard to say whether you have a claim for dental malpractice or not. I suggest you contact an experienced dental malpractice attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/11/2012
    Lapin Law Offices
    Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
    I do not know what you mean by the term "legal recourse." If you mean an "attorney" then the anwer is "maybe." If the orthodontist admits that he or she made a mistake, causing your daughter to need braces for a much longer period and may need teeth pulled, essentially admitting that committed malpractice, then you and your daughter have a claim against the orthodontist. You would be entitled to additional costs associated with the needs for having the braces longer as well as the costs, if any, for having any teeth pulled. Your daughter would be entitled to money for "pain and suffering" as well as money if any teeth are pulled. If the orthodontist agrees to pay for everything as well as give your daughter additional money for pain, suffering and other damages, then you might not need an attorney. If the orthodontist does not agree to pay for these things then you would like need to file a lawsuit against him or her. You may want to consult with an attorney to discuss the case and what you and your daughter might be entitled to. You can then decide whether you want to hire an attorney or try to handle the case on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA | Bernard Jones
    This can be a little touchy. It depends on what you mean by "dropped the ball" and the resulting damages. You need to talk with a lawyer directly.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    You should consult with a plaintiff's medical malpractice lawyer to obtain specific legal advice and assistance regarding your daughter's dental problem.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    You should contact a medical malpractice attorney that has experience with dentists and/or orthodontists and see if the attorney can refer you to an expert that would look at your daughter's teeth and tell you whether her orthodontist acted below the standard of care. You would need an expert in any lawsuit you might file to attest to that standard or you have no case. So it would be prudent to find that out up front. Many ortho's are reluctant to get involved so if you get referred to other ortho's by your friends, you want to ask the receptionist if he or she does legal expert work. If the expert will attest to that, then you have a leg to stand on to bring a case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Paris Blank LLP
    Paris Blank LLP | Irving M Blank
    You need an ortho to out in writting that treating ortho was negligent and then you have a claim. Get an experienced malpractice lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of James J. Rosenberger | James Joseph Rosenberger
    Each case is fact dependent. You want to consult an attorney who practices in dental/orthodontic malpractice. Not every bad result means a lawsuit is proper but most attorneys consult free and either the Internet or the Wa. State Bar Association are good referral sources.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Offices of Mark Hopkins | Mark Hopkins
    Why not simply file a claim with the dentist's liability carrier? The use of a lawyer with experience in dental malpractice will likely greatly increase the value of your claim.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    A DDS is a medical specialist. You may bring a medical malpractice action against the professional within two years of the alleged negligence. You should retain a lawyer who is specifically skilled in this area of law.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    To have a claim against the orthodontist you would have show that he/she breached the applicable standard of care. This would have to be done through the use of an expert witness. It is possible that the orthodontist's malpractice carrier may try to settle with you but before you agree to a settlement you should consult with an attorney who can provide you with a better estimate of your damages. From what you have said, it appears there could be a claim and it should be evaluated.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Joseph Lamy
    Law Office of Joseph Lamy | Joseph Lamy
    Yes, your recourse is a medical malpractice claim against the treating physician, in this case a dentist. Medical malpractice cases are extremely complex and costly, so more information would be needed about your daughter's case in order to determine if she has a reasonable case. You suggest that the orthodontist has admitted to his or her error. Was this verbal or do you have any other direct evidence of the error to support your claim. I would be happy to speak with you to further understand your case. Best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    You do have legal recourse if a medical provider has fallen below the "standard of care" in the services they have provided you. The standard of care is defined as the acceptable standard of care that a similarly trained medical professional would provide under the same circumstance. If your daughter has suffered damages as a result of the dentist's failure to follow the standard of care, you could have a valid medical malpractice claim. I would suggest you contact an attorney who handles medical malpractice claims so they may review all of the facts of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    If you were harmed as a result of medical malpractice, you can sue the dentist for damages. It's a good idea to get a second opinion from another dentist first.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/10/2012
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney