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Law Offices of Fred B. Goldberg, PC  May 16, 2024

How Common Is Dental Malpractice

When it comes to the care of our teeth, we often place a great deal of trust in our dentists. But, just like any medical treatment, dental procedures carry their risks. You may be wondering, how common is dental malpractice? And, what can you do if you're a victim? 

While dental malpractice might seem alarming, it is important to note that it is relatively uncommon compared to other areas of medical malpractice. However, when dental malpractice does occur, the impact on a patient’s health and well-being can be significant, requiring prompt legal action. 

If you suspect that you have been a victim of dental malpractice, there are steps you can take to protect your rights.  

Understanding Personal Injury Laws in Maryland

In Maryland, personal injury laws are designed to provide a legal framework for individuals who have suffered harm due to the actions or negligence of another party. This includes incidents of dental malpractice, which fall under the broader umbrella of medical malpractice law.  

According to state legislation, victims have a three-year window from the date of discovering or when they reasonably should have discovered the injury, to file a lawsuit. This statute of limitations underscores the importance of acting swiftly in cases of suspected malpractice.  

Also, Maryland follows a contributory negligence rule, which can completely bar recovery if the plaintiff is found even slightly at fault for their injury. Understanding these laws can be pivotal in successfully navigating a dental malpractice case and securing the compensation you deserve. 

Common Scenarios of Dental Malpractice

Dental malpractice can leave severe trauma ranging from physical and emotional trauma to loss of time at work. By identifying if you have been a victim of dental malpractice, you can start to craft a case to seek the compensation you deserve. The following are common instances of dental malpractice:  

  • Failure to diagnose: Missing or delaying the diagnosis of a serious dental condition that leads to more severe health issues or complications. 

  • Improper treatment: Performing unnecessary treatments, using incorrect techniques, or mishandling dental procedures that cause harm to the patient. 

  • Injury to the oral structure: Causing damage to teeth, nerves, or the jaw during dental procedures. 

  • Infection: Failing to manage and prevent post-treatment infections due to unsanitary practices or neglect. 

  • Informed consent violations: Not fully informing the patient about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a procedure, leading to unconsented treatments. 

Your Next Steps

Our firm, Law Offices of Fred B. Goldberg, PC, advocates for proactive steps in such situations, especially if you believe your suffering might be the result of a dentist’s mistake or negligence. Some key actions to consider include: 

  • Documenting symptoms: Keep a detailed record of your symptoms, including when they started and how they've progressed over time. 

  • Seeking a second opinion: Consult another dentist to get an unbiased evaluation of your dental health and the treatment you have received. 

  • Understanding your records: Request a copy of your dental records and any related documents from your initial dentist to ensure you have a comprehensive view of your treatment. 

  • Legal consultation: If your dental issues continue to be overlooked or inadequately addressed, it might be time to consult with a legal professional who specializes in dental malpractice.  

Taking these steps can help you prepare yourself and your attorney for a solid case. By having a solid case, you may seek compensation for your injuries.  

Why Should I Pursue a Claim?

Pursuing a dental malpractice lawsuit goes beyond individual justice and compensation; it plays a critical role in upholding the medical profession's integrity. By holding dentists accountable for their actions, these legal actions reinforce the importance of high standards of care within the dental community.  

When victims step forward, they not only seek rectification for their suffering but also act as a deterrent against negligence. Successful claims serve as a catalyst for change, prompting the adoption of better practices and protocols.  

This proactive approach significantly contributes to enhancing patient safety and reducing the likelihood of future malpractice incidents. Engaging in a legal battle can be daunting, but it's a pivotal step in advocating for oneself and contributing to the overall improvement of dental healthcare standards. 

Potential Damages You May Be Entitled To

When pursuing a dental malpractice lawsuit, understanding the types of damages you might be eligible to recover is crucial. These damages intend to compensate the victim for the losses and harms suffered due to the malpractice. Possible recoveries can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Medical expenses: Costs incurred for additional dental or medical treatment needed to correct the harm caused by the malpractice. 

  • Lost wages: Compensation for any time off work, both past and future, that resulted from the injury. 

  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for physical pain and emotional distress suffered as a result of the dental malpractice. 

  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Damages for the impact the malpractice has had on your ability to enjoy daily activities. 

  • Punitive damages: In rare cases, if the dentist's conduct is found to be especially harmful, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar future conduct. 

These damages aim to restore the victim to the position they would have been in if the malpractice had not occurred, to the extent that money can do so. 

Comprehensive Legal Assistance

If you suspect you've been a victim of dental malpractice, consulting with a compassionate attorney can provide critical guidance and support. Remember, you are not alone, and help is available to navigate through this challenging time. 

Schedule a free consultation today at the Law Offices of Fred B. Goldberg if you need advice or representation in a dental malpractice case. Our extensive experience and successful track record make us a trusted ally in your fight for justice.

Located in Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Columbia, Washington D.C., Rockville, Frederick, Annapolis, Towson, Hagerstown, Berkeley Springs, Cumberland, Salisbury, and Ocean City. 


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