The LeBlanc Law Firm
Recent changes in the law including new
dental malpractice damage caps
emphasize the need to have an attorney
with experience in this area of the law.
DALLAS DENTAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY
Dental malpractice is an act or continuing conduct of a dentist that does not meet
the standard of professional competence and results in provable damages to
his/her client or patient. In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff must have an
“expert witness” such as a dentist that specializes in the same field of dentistry to
testify as to the acceptable standard of care in regards to the specific act in
question. The expert witness must also testify that the dentist did not meet that
standard of care. If you have been a victim of a dental malpractice act in Texas,
you should contact a Dallas dental malpractice lawyer to evaluate your case.
EXAMPLES OF DENTAL MALPRACTICE
There are many different circumstances in which a dental malpractice suit can be
brought. The following examples are common:
1. Against an organization that operates hospitals or administers specialized care;
2. Against an organization for administering the wrong medication, wrong
dosage, negligent care, inadequate cleanliness, and faulty equipment;
3. Against a dentist for not providing the acceptable standard of care to his
patient as is defined by the medical community;
4. Against a specialist who does not provide the acceptable standard of care as is
defined by other specialists in the same area of medicine;
5. Against a dentist who did not diagnose, misdiagnosed, or delayed diagnosis of
6. Against a dentist who properly diagnosed a patient and did not treat the patient
7. Against a dentist who did not complete a surgical procedure properly.
Dental malpractice occurs when a negligent act or omission by a dentist or other
medical professional results in damage or harm to a patient. Negligence by a
medical professional could include an error in a diagnosis, treatment, or illness
management. If such negligence results in injury to a patient, a case could arise
against the dentist if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted
standards of practice.
Dental malpractice laws are designed to protect patients' rights to pursue
compensation if they are injured as the result of negligence. However,
malpractice suits are often complex and costly to win. While theoretically, you
can seek compensation for any injury caused by negligence, regardless of its
seriousness, time and money make it unrealistic to sue for an injury that is minor
or resolves quickly. Therefore, if you believe you have a dental malpractice
claim, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible who can
help you determine whether your claim is worth pursuing.
DENTAL MALPRACTICE THEORIES
Negligence: Most dental malpractice cases proceed under the theory that a
medical professional was negligent in treating the patient. To establish medical
negligence, an injured patient, the plaintiff, must prove:
The existence of a duty owed by the health care professional to the plaintiff (for
example, a dentist/patient relationship);
The applicable standard of care, and the health care professional's deviation from
that standard, which is deemed a breach of the duty owed to the patient;
A causal relationship between the health care professional's deviation from the
standard of care and the patient's injury; and
Injury to the patient.
One of the most important aspects of a dental malpractice action is establishing
the standard of care to be applied to the health care professional. Medical
professionals are often heard to refer to medicine as an art, rather than a science,
and although errors in judgment may result in injury to a patient, not all medical
errors are actionable as negligence.
To find a dentist legally at fault, it must be shown that his or her conduct fell
below a generally accepted standard of medical care. To establish the standard to
be applied, the plaintiff must present expert testimony not only as to the standard
of care applicable, but that also establishes that the defendant failed to meet the
Another element of dental malpractice actions, causation, is sometimes
challenging to establish. Specifically, the plaintiff must show that his or her
health care provider's deviation from the applicable standard of care resulted in
his or her injury. This is challenging because sometimes, the health care
provider's deviation from the standard of care may not have caused the plaintiff's
eventual injury, and vice versa.
Negligent Prescription of Medications or Dental Devices
A dentist may be held liable for the negligent prescription of a medication or
medical device if he or she ignored the manufacturer's instructions, or prescribed
an incorrect medication or dosage, which resulted in injury to the patient. In
some cases, a pharmaceutical manufacturer may be liable where a drug caused a
patient injuries, but only if the manufacturer failed to warn of potential side
effects or dangers of the drug. In most cases, the prescribing dentist is
considered a "learned intermediary," which means that because of his or her
superior medical knowledge, and the fact that he or she has been given adequate
information from the manufacturer, he or she is in the best position to determine
whether a particular drug or device is appropriate for a patient. Thus, the dentist
has the primary duty of advising the patient of the risks and side effects of a
medication or medical device he or she prescribes.
In many situations, the failure to obtain a patient's "informed consent" relative to
a procedure or treatment is a form of medical negligence, and may even give rise
to a cause of action for battery. Although the specific definition of informed
consent may be in dispute, it means essentially that a dentist (or other medical
provider) must tell a patient all of the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives
involved in any surgical procedure, medical procedure, or other course of
treatment, and must obtain the patient's written consent to proceed.
In Texas, dentists are protected by legal limits, called "caps," on the amount of
damages that can be awarded in malpractice suits. Recent legislation in Texas
has also resulted in very stringent requirements for obtaining expert reports very
soon after the filing of the lawsuit. In order to properly evaluate your dental
malpractice case, you should contact a Dallas dental malpractice attorney.
HOME *PRACTICE AREAS*EXPERIENCE*AWARDS*LINKS*CONTACT US
The LeBlanc Law Firm is located at 3102 Maple Avenue, Suite 450, Dallas, Texas. For
directions, click here.
We serve all areas of North Texas, including Dallas County, Tarrant County, Denton County,
Collin County including the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Grand Prairie,
Garland, Mesquite, Richardson, Plano, Frisco, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Lewisville, Hurst,
Euless, Bedford, Grapevine, Coppell, Colleyville, Duncanville, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Lancaster
and Rockwall. We also accept cases throughout the State of Texas including Houston, Austin,
San Antonio, Tyler, El Paso, Waco, Lubbock, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Brownsville,
Beaumont, Abilene, Wichita Falls, Laredo, Midland, Odessa, Texarkana or any other city in
Examples of personal injury cases handled by The LeBlanc Law Firm: truck accident,
automobile accident, premises liability (slip and fall), medical negligence, nursing home
negligence, dental negligence, wrongful death, defective product, defective drug, false
imprisonment, construction accident, employment related injuries.
Please visit our other websites: General Practice and Business and Employment law sites.
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