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Dental Malpractice in California

HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer

Thursday, February 12, 2015



Dental Malpractice in California
Dentist

Dental Malpractice is a form of medical malpractice and in California it is governed by medical malpractice laws. If your dentist, oral surgeon or dental hygienist fails to provide care that meets acceptable standards of practice, and if you are injured by that substandard care, you may be eligible for money damages.

Acceptable standards of practice for a dental healthcare provider depend on the standards of care in your geographic area and/or nationwide and also on your own health, including but not limited to your dental health. Substandard care can include but is not limited to: failing to diagnose; pulling a tooth that should not be pulled; performing unnecessary procedures; using unsterilized instruments, etc. Money damages consist of two categories: economic damages, which are your actual dollar losses from lost work, medical bills, etc.; and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering.

If you believe you have been injured by dental malpractice, several steps are required or at least wise in California.
First, keep a running journal of your treatments, their costs, your injuries and every way in which that treatment harmed you, financially or otherwise.

Second, obtain copies of your dental records, including charts, ledgers, progress notes, prescriptions, etc. California law entitles you to a copy of your dental records. Obtain those records yourself rather than relying on your attorney to eventually obtain them and avoid saying that they are for legal action. For example, tell the dental healthcare provider that you are obtaining the records for some reasonable medical purpose, such as obtaining a second opinion from another dental healthcare provider.

Third, when you visit other medical and dental healthcare providers, document your dental injuries and any complaints on their forms.

Fourth, dental malpractice is a specialized and sometimes complex area, so hire an attorney specializing in dental malpractice.

Fifth, don’t dawdle: California law requires that dental malpractice claims be brought within 3 years of the date of injury or within 1 year from the date on which the injury should have reasonably been discovered, whichever is sooner.

DO’S AND DON’TS

DO keep a journal of your treatments, their costs, your injuries and every way in which that treatment harmed you, financially or otherwise.

DO obtain copies of your dental records, including charts, ledgers, progress notes, prescriptions, etc.

DON’T tell the dental healthcare provider that you are obtaining the records for legal action.

DO tell the dental healthcare provider that you are obtaining the records for some reasonable medical purpose, such as obtaining a second opinion from another dental healthcare provider.

DO document your dental injuries and any complaints on the forms of other medical and dental healthcare providers.

DO retain an attorney who specialized in dental malpractice.

DON’T dawdle: in California, dental malpractice claims must be brought within 3 years after the date of injury or within 1 year after the injury should have reasonably been discovered, whichever is sooner.

By Kathy Catanzarite


Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Handelonthelaw.com Staff Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.





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