Just like any other type of healthcare professional, an orthodontist must abide by certain standards when it comes to treating patients. If an orthodontist falls below these standards, the patient may be entitled to compensation for injuries and losses. If you are someone who feels your orthodontist was negligent during your dental treatment, then you may be eligible for restitution.
However, before you begin the lawsuit, it is important to get advice from a medical malpractice lawyer, about whether you have a strong enough case against the orthodontist.
Most people who get into the healthcare field do so because they want to help alleviate suffering and enhance lives. Unfortunately, there are others who may only be in it for the money and to take advantage of people who don’t know any better. To practice orthodontics, a person does have to finish a doctorate program and have a current license in the state they reside. Like other health care providers, orthodontists may be held responsible for malpractice if their patients suffer while in their care.
Risks Versus Negligence
If something goes awry during your treatment or your teeth didn’t turn out as straight as you’d hoped, this doesn’t necessarily mean that negligence occurred. As with all procedures, there is some degree of risk. Complications are not out of the ordinary and there may not be a way for the orthodontist to guarantee a specific outcome. The key is closely examining the treatment which led to harm and identifying where the professional misconduct or negligence occurred. Then, you and your attorney can work on building a case against the orthodontist through evidence.
Signing a Treatment Contract
Something else to consider is whether your orthodontist had you sign a contract or waiver about your treatment. You may have signed a contract that says you are waiving certain rights and are not eligible for recovering damages in the event something doesn’t go as planned. For instance, some contracts have language that state the patient must submit their dispute to binding arbitration. This means that you won’t be permitted to file a lawsuit for negligence in civil court. As with all medical contracts, read what you sign.
How Malpractice Can Happen
Here are a few real life examples of how medical malpractice can happen in regards to orthodontic treatment:
- Invisalign: only a qualified orthodontist should approve patients for invisalign. These are clear aligners that cover the teeth. If the orthodontist doesn’t provide the correct invisalign treatment, it can hurt the patient’s mouth and cost thousands of dollars to get care to fix it from another practitioner.
- Braces: orthodontists who do not properly put braces on a patient’s teeth or adequately monitor treatment progress may cause the patient to suffer from pain, incorrect teeth positioning, and periodontal disease. The patient may be entitled to significant compensation for their pain and suffering.