The Various Theories of Liability in Florida Dental Injury Cases

Under Florida law, dentists and dental surgeons may be liable for medical malpractice if their negligence causes disfigurement, damage, or harm to their patients. Individuals who suffer injuries because of their dentist’s negligence must meet specific requirements to recover compensation. Generally, there are four elements to a Florida dental malpractice lawsuit, the duty of care the dentist owed the patient, whether they breached that duty, the injury the victim suffered, and the damages the victim incurred. These lawsuits require a thorough and comprehensive understanding of various substantive and procedural rules, and it is essential to contact an attorney to discuss how to pursue your claim successfully.

The first element of a dental malpractice claim requires the patient or their loved one to prove that the dentist owed them a duty of care. In these cases, the standard duty of care is that of which any other ordinary, prudent, similarly situated dentist would be under. A breach of the standard of care occurs when the dentist fails to meet this standard. However, in some situations, a patient may suffer an unwanted result that was not necessarily due to the dentist’s negligence.

Next, plaintiffs in these cases must be able to establish that there was a causal relationship between their injuries and the dentist’s breach. Essentially, the plaintiff must be able to provide evidence that their injuries would not have occurred but for the dentist’s negligent conduct. Many dental medical malpractice claims stem from failed procedures, erroneous extractions, nerve damage, tooth damage, disfigurement, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

Finally, the plaintiff must establish that they suffered actual damages because of the dentist’s negligence. Damages often include lost earnings, costs related to corrective treatment, and psychological trauma. In awarding damages, judges or juries will look to the severity of the error and injury, whether the damage is irreversible, the amount of physical pain the patient suffered, and the history of the dental professional.

In addition to the actual treating dentists, patients may hold other parties responsible as well. This often occurs in situations where the damage is a result of defective dental equipment or dangerous chemicals. For example, recently, an appellate court issued an opinion stemming from injuries a woman suffered when her dentist soaked the woman’s dentures in a disinfecting solution. After soaking the dentures, the dentist quickly rinsed them and placed them in the patient’s mouth. The product contained a warning that the solution should not have contact with any surface that touches mucous membranes. The court ultimately found that the company was not responsible because the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the dentist’s failure to follow the product’s instructions.

Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Negligent Florida Dentist?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries during a dental or medical procedure, you should contact the attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. The experienced trial attorneys at our law firm have decades of experience successfully representing Florida injury victims in their Florida product liability, medical malpractice, and auto accident claims.  We understand that each case is unique and presents its own challenges, however, we have the skills and resources to overcome even the most complicated cases. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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