The Three Requirements for a Texas Dentist Malpractice Case
In order to have a good malpractice case against a dentist in Texas, you will need three things:
- Proof that the dentist made a mistake that is not acceptable in the dental profession;
- Proof that this mistake AND NOTHING ELSE caused the injuries you suffered; and
- Proof that your damages are so large that even the stingiest of juries would agree that you should be awarded more than $20,000.00
We Must Prove BOTH a Bad Mistake AND a Bad Injury
It is not enough to prove that the dentist made a mistake, and it is not enough to prove that you suffered damages because of something the dentist did. All mistakes by dentists are not malpractice--some are unavoidable and acceptable complications of treatment. And sometimes the mistake made by the dentist is not what caused the patient's damages.
Examples of this situation are:
- A dentist fails to diagnose a condition which is so far advanced that the patient would need the same treatment anyway. For example, it sometimes happens that a patient will have advanced bone disease in their jaw and the dentist fails to diagnose it. In this situation, if the evidence is that the dentist's delay didn't make any significant difference in the treatment that the patient would need, there is no dentist malpractice case even though it is clear that the dentist made a mistake.
- A dentist pulls a tooth and the patient ends up with one of the common complications of an extraction -- a minor infection, a "dry socket" or temporary nerve damage. In situations like these, the patient usually does not have a dentist malpractice case-- because the dentist can prove that any dentist performing the same extraction under the same circumstances might have had a same complications. To win your case, we have to prove that what happened to you could not have happened if your dentist had done his job correctly.
Your Case Has to Be Big Enough to Make Sense for Your Family
Dentist malpractice cases are very expensive. Texas law has put many hurdles in the way of patients suing dentists--laws designed to make it difficult and costly to sue. The cost of paying expert witnesses, court reporters, medical records and other fees in dental malpractice cases often exceeds $20,000.00—and that’s before you factor in attorney’s fees.
For this reason, unless your case involves a permanent injury or extra dental treatment that will cost $20,000.00 or more, it probably doesn't make sense for you and your family to pursue the case.
We see a lot of cases where the dentist clearly screwed up and the patient had to go through another dental treatment and was in pain for an extra week. We have to tell our clients that they could "win" this case, but they would end up with nothing at the end of the lawsuit after paying the expenses and fees to get the "win". We would never put you through a lawsuit where we know that at the end of the day the experts would get paid, we would get paid, and you would likely end up with little or nothing.
We pride ourselves on taking good care of our clients, and our first concern has to be whether the case makes sense for you and your family. Our clients come first, and if the case doesn't make sense for our clients, we're not going to pursue it.
Examples of Good Dentist Malpractice Cases
- Dentist’s mistake causes bone damage requiring bone grafts and implant surgery
- Dentist ignores signs of infection and the patient ends up with a long hospital stay that could have been prevented with simple antibiotics
- Dentist who is unqualified ruins a patient’s teeth while trying to put in veneers or caps—and the patient ends up having to have tens of thousands of dollars of repair work done
- Dentist cuts a patient’s nerves or badly cuts a patient’s tongue or gums, resulting in great expense and a lifetime of pain or lost taste
- Dentist performs unnecessary care (particularly on children) simply to make money.
All of these cases are probably dentist malpractice, and you should contact us right away if any of these things happened to you.
Help Us Help You
When you contact us about your dentist malpractice case, please let us know 1) what you think the dentist did wrong; and 2) how the mistake caused your injuries. The more information we have about these issues, the better advice we can give you.
If you have seen another dentist who has told you that the dentist you are thinking of suing committed malpractice, that is another thing that is very helpful for us to know. We'll need to know what other dentists think of the care you got--so if you haven't asked, you should.
Finally, if the amount of money involved in your case is less than $10,000, we’re sorry, but we're just not going to be able to help you. In situations like this, we suggest that you contact the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners to make a complaint. You can file your complaint online.
Please contact us today about your dentist malpractice case by calling.972-230-6200. There is no reason to wait, and the consultation is free.