How are damages calculated in a dental malpractice case?
A Palm Beach, Florida circuit court recently awarded a dental patient with $350,419 following a botched bridge procedure. The 49-year-old substitute teacher had a bridge installed, but it was later discovered that the dentist performing the procedure failed to remove decay from a tooth before putting in the bridge. As a result, the patient had to have three teeth extracted. It left the patient with temporary disfigurement in her mouth and required a new crown, along with additional dental treatments by several other dentists.
The dentist who installed the bridge claimed in defense that the fractured tooth caused the failure of the bridge. The defense insisted that the extractions would have been necessary regardless of the dentist’s procedure. After hearing all of the evidence, the jury in the case of Hanna v. Martone issued an award of over $14,000 for past medical expenses, $186,400 for past pain and suffering, and $150,000 for future pain and suffering. This case illustrates just how significant damages can be in a dental malpractice action.
Damages in Dental Malpractice Cases in New York
Your teeth are critical to your overall health and wellbeing. Dental problems can lead to immense pain, the inability to chew, and social embarrassment. Most of us trust our dentist to resolve any dental issues we may experience, but studies show that any dentist can make errors. Dental errors happen far more often than most of us realize. If you have become the victim of a dental error, you will need to take action to protect your legal rights.
In the state of New York, dental malpractice victims can seek compensation from the dentist who caused their injuries in hopes of recovering for their losses. There are several categories of damages that you may be eligible for, including:
- Medical expenses: Often, a dental error will result in the need for other dental or medical procedures. This may leave you with medical bills stemming for doctor’s visits, surgery, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and the like.
- Lost income: As you recover and seek additional treatment to correct your botched dental procedure, you may miss time at work. Lost wages can be recovered in a dental malpractice action.
- Pain and suffering: You can pursue compensation for both your past and future pain and suffering in a dental malpractice suit. Pain can involve your physical pain, as well as your mental and emotional pain caused by the injury.
- Punitive damages: On occasion, the court can award punitive damages to deter the dentist from future misconduct.
Anyone injured due to a negligent dentist’s actions should contact a dental malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will take swift steps to protect your legal rights.