Failure to Supervise Hygienists

Dental Malpractice Attorney Serving Rockland County and Surrounding Areas

Going to the dentist can be difficult for some people, especially for those who suffer from odontophobia, dentophobia, dental phobia, or dental anxiety. It would be encouraging – not only to these individuals but to all dental patients – if it could be said that the likelihood of being harmed due to an act of dental negligence was all but nonexistent. Unfortunately, this is not true. Dental malpractice cases, including those arising from a dentist’s failure to properly supervise a hygienist, are increasingly common. Rockland County dental malpractice lawyer Valerie J. Crown handles a variety of these cases, including those involving the improper use of anesthesia and other acts of neglect.

Just as with other types of medical negligence cases, a person who believes that they have been hurt due to the failure of a dentist, hygienist, or other dental professional to follow the applicable standard of care has only a limited time in which to file a claim against the responsible provider. The statute of limitations generally runs from the date that one discovers that they have been a victim of medical or dental negligence, such as a misdiagnosis, and there may also be a statute of repose (continuous treatment doctrine) that runs from the last date of the continuous treatment that gave rise to the claim. An experienced dental malpractice attorney can help you file your claim in a timely fashion – but only if that attorney is contacted within a reasonable time after the alleged act of malpractice. Plaintiffs cannot proceed with a dental malpractice claim that has become barred by the statute of limitations or the statute of repose.

Dentists Can Be Held Liable for Failing to Supervise Hygienists

While it may be possible to hold a dental hygienist directly liable for their own negligence, it may be preferable – especially if there are higher liability insurance policy limits – to also name the dentist who employed them as a defendant in a dental malpractice claim arising from a dental nerve injury or other harm caused by a negligent hygienist. The dentist, as the employer of the negligent hygienist, may be liable on a theory of respondeat superior, in which an employer is legally liable for the careless acts of their employee.

As a professional, a dentist may also be held directly liable for his or her own negligent supervision of the hygienist whose actions caused harm to the patient. This is because certain medical and dental employees, including dental hygienists, are limited in what they can do to a patient under state law and must work under the general supervision of a licensed dentist. In other words, a dental hygienist cannot run their practice as they see fit. Instead, they must work under the authority of a licensed dentist who has completed the educational and training requirements necessary to practice dentistry in the State of New York.

Seek Compensation for Your Injuries from a Dentist in Rockland County or Beyond

There would be no point to having a law requiring a dental hygienist to work under the supervision of a dentist if there were no way to hold the dentist liable for a failure to supervise the hygienist when a hygienist’s mistake results in a surgical error or another error that hurts a patient or even leads to a patient’s death. Rockland County attorney Valerie J. Crown can help your family and you pursue fair compensation for a dentist’s failure to properly supervise a hygienist (or another employee) in Rockland, Westchester, Dutchess, Ulster, or Orange Counties, as well as elsewhere in the Greater New York area. For a no-obligation, complimentary consultation, call us today at 845-708-5900 or call Valerie’s cell phone at 845-598-8253, or contact us online. We are here 24/7 to answer your questions as they arise. Valerie works directly with her clients, providing the personalized attention that is rarely found at a larger firm, and she takes her fee only as a percentage of a judgment or settlement won for a client.