Can I Sue My Orthodontist for Malpractice?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on April 12, 2019
Orthodontists are medical professionals and therefore professionally obligated to meet the standard of care for every patient treated in their facilities. You may wonder whether you have grounds for a lawsuit against an orthodontist if you are dissatisfied with his or her work on your teeth, but you may only take legal action if the orthodontist was negligent in any way that resulted in harm to you.
Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Claims
The “standard of care” is a medical term for the minimum level of treatment a patient should receive for a given condition. For example, a patient’s diagnosis may require surgery, ongoing physical rehabilitation, and medication for a certain period until the patient’s condition improves. When it comes to orthodontics, orthodontists must follow appropriate, medically sound procedures for treating their patients.
The first step in succeeding with a medical malpractice lawsuit against an orthodontist is to prove the orthodontist failed to meet the standard of care for your situation. This usually requires meeting with an expert witness who has a background in orthodontics. The expert will assess the plaintiff’s claim and determine whether the defendant met or failed to meet the appropriate standard of care.
If an expert witness determines a plaintiff has solid grounds for a medical malpractice claim against an orthodontist, the expert witness will provide a signed written statement with professional interpretations of the plaintiff’s situation and an explanation as to why the defendant’s behavior constitutes a breach of the standard of care.
Many orthodontic procedures are cosmetic in nature, but some Americans require orthodontic work to eat correctly, fix breathing problems, or correct physical deformities that interfere with daily life. An orthodontist may complete a procedure correctly, but the patient is still unhappy with the results. This would usually not constitute grounds for a lawsuit, but if an orthodontist injured a patient during a procedure due to negligence, this could be the foundation of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
It is difficult to prove medical negligence when it comes to cosmetic orthodontic procedures, because the results may be subjective, and what is acceptable to one patient may be wholly inadequate to the next. The determining factor is harm; if the patient suffered any type of harm such as physical injury, psychological damage, or economic loss due to the orthodontist’s negligence, the patient likely has grounds for a malpractice claim against the orthodontist.
Medical malpractice hinges on much more than just patient dissatisfaction with the results of a procedure. However, if an orthodontist claimed a procedure would fix a certain issue but it failed to do so, or if the orthodontist failed to disclose known risks of a procedure and the patient suffered harm as a result, these situations would likely constitute medical negligence.
Find an Legal Expert
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to poor orthodontic work or believe an orthodontist failed to uphold the standard of care during a recent procedure, speak with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. You may believe that your case is straightforward enough to handle alone, but the reality is that medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most complex civil actions and navigating such a claim without an attorney could result in the victim losing his or her chance at recovery due to a procedural misstep with the court or some other administrative error.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help a potential client better understand his or her legal options after a botched orthodontic procedure. Generally, if such an event caused any type of measurable harm, the victim would have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. A successful lawsuit can offer compensation for lost income, additional medical expenses for corrective surgeries and other procedures, and any and all other damages resulting from the defendant’s negligence.