Failure to Refer to a Specialist
Dental malpractice occurs much more frequently than we would like to think. Technically, dental negligence occurs any time that a dental services provider breaches the applicable standard of care, proximately causing physical harm and damages to a patient. In some instances, the patient suffers only minor injuries, such as pain for a few days after the procedure. It is unlikely that a lawsuit would be brought in such a situation because the time and expense involved would significantly outweigh any potential monetary recovery. In other cases, however, a dental patient, who has suffered serious and permanent nerve or other injuries from a dentist’s mistake, including a dental professional’s failure to refer to a specialist, should seriously consider talking to an attorney about the possibility of filing a claim. At the Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., our Rockland County dental malpractice attorneys assist those who have been hurt by a dentist’s negligent actions or failure to act, including failure to refer a patient to a specialist.
Just as with medical professionals such as doctors, dentists are not expected to be qualified to perform any and all procedures potentially required by their patients. Depending upon a particular practitioner’s level of skill and training, the appropriate measure may be to refer a patient to another dentist, one who specializes in the type of care that the patient needs, rather than to attempt a procedure or diagnosis that the dentist in unqualified to perform or render.Claims for Dental Negligence Due to Failure to Refer to a Specialist
A patient relies upon his or her dentist to provide appropriate care. If the dentist is unable to provide this care because it calls for an expert in a particular field (such as an orthodontist or oral surgeon for implants), he or she should inform the patient of the options, including a referral to another practitioner. Unfortunately, this is not always done, and a patient can suffer tremendous physical damage – even death – as a result. In some instances, the dentist may be negligent in failing to recognize the problem that needs to be addressed by a specialist. In other cases, the dentist may realize that the patient needs to see a specialist but be unwilling to make a referral for fear of losing the patient’s business.
Regardless of whether a dentist’s failure to refer to a specialist is intentional or the result of neglect, the patient has a limited amount of time in which to file a claim for money damages. Failure to comply with the New York statute of limitations can result in dismissal of an otherwise valuable cause of action, so it is important that a dental patient consult an attorney as soon as possible after discovering that he or she may have been the victim of an act of dental malpractice. In successful dental malpractice cases, a patient may be able to recover substantial compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering associated with the personal injuries caused by the dentist’s negligent act or failure to act.Consult a Dental Malpractice Attorney in Rockland County
Recovering fair compensation in a dental malpractice case is often a long and difficult process that includes a “battle of the experts,” that is, differences in the expert opinions of witnesses retained by the plaintiff and the defendant to testify in a dental negligence case. Resolution of these issues is ultimately up to the jury, as the trier of fact, so it is important that a potential expert witness in a dental malpractice lawsuit be credible. Thus, it is important to retain an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law and who has an established relationship with a variety of potential expert witnesses. To schedule an appointment with a seasoned dental malpractice lawyer who regularly handles failure-to-refer cases, please contact the Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., at 845-708-5900 or through our online form. You can also contact Valerie 24/7 on her cell phone at 845-598-8253. We hand dental negligence cases from Rockland County, as well as Westchester, Duchess, Ulster, and Orange Counties, along with other types of personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout the greater New York area.