With David Hobbs
Show Notes Episode 7:
- While this episode is specifically about dental negligence, almost everything discussed applies to medical negligence – whether it is a dentist or other health care provider.
- Dental negligence is a legal discussion, but also involves the complexity of providing health care services and advice. It’s a mixture of legal thinking and opinions of experts.
- When you visit a dentist, they give you advice. This advice is required to meet a certain standard of practice.
- Negligence in a general sense is providing treatment or giving advice that is:
- below standard of practice and also causes an injury.
- So, to have negligence you can sue for, you have to have both substandard advice & treatment, and an injury.
- It is important to remember that treatment carries a risk. A poor outcome doesn’t mean there was negligence.
- It is important to conduct due diligence if considering suing any professional.
- These cases are complex and usually aggressively defended by the insurance company.
- The first step is to gather all the records involved, then have a trained expert look through the records and give an opinion on whether you are the victim of negligence.
- This advice will determine if further due diligence is required and if you should move forward with a law suit.
- Need to be mindful of limitation periods.
- In the health care field, there are ‘colleges’ that regulate the health care professionals.
- Colleges do not adjudicate whether a health care professional has been negligent, they look a public complaints to determine if further training or discipline is required.
- While an investigation by a college does shed light on whether there are issues, what occurs in the regulatory environment is not admissible in court.
- A legal action against a dentist has to be brought on its own evidence.
- In any action you will need an expert’s report.
- This report needs to be prepared according to the rules of court.
- It will contain opinions on the relevant standards of practice, where the conduct has deviated, and what kind of damages have been caused.
- One area that doesn’t rely on expert opinion is the area of obtaining informed consent.
- If you establish liability for negligence, then you have to prove your damages. These include:
- pain and suffering
- unnecessary expenses
- loss of income
- loss of earning capacity
- All damages have to be quantified and may require further expert opinion.
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