When you undergo some types of dental treatment, there’s a risk that you will suffer temporary or permanent nerve damage. This is especially likely if the dentist is negligent in some way. Sometimes, nerve damage is unavoidable but if your dentist didn’t meet the expected standard of care, you may be entitled to compensation. A Lakeland medical malpractice attorney can review the situation and advise you as to whether you have a case.
Most dental procedures are completed without complications. However, some are more likely to result in nerve damage. These include tooth extractions, root canals, fillings, and dental implants. Usually, it’s the trigeminal nerve that’s affected. This is the largest and most complex of the cranial nerves and it is responsible for sensation in the face as well as the ability to bite and chew. When this nerve is damaged, the individual may experience numbness of the lips, tongue, and face, and problems eating. Some people also experience an altered sense of taste. This can have a significant impact on your quality of life.
When You Can Sue A Dentist
Not every instance of nerve damage is a sign that the dentist did something wrong. Sometimes, routine procedures cause negative side effects that clear up within a few weeks or months. If this is the case, you won’t have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, if you suffer long-term or permanent damage and you can prove that the dentist was negligent in some way, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer will likely have to find an expert witness to give their opinion on the extent of the damage you suffered and whether the dentist breached their duty towards you.
It’s important to note that you only have a limited time within which to file your lawsuit. In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years. The clock starts running on the date that you knew or reasonably should have known that an injury occurred and that it was possibly due to malpractice. As you can imagine, it can be difficult to determine exactly when the two-year period begins. However, if you don’t file your lawsuit in time, you lose the ability to do so.
Meanwhile, there’s also a statute of repose in place that says a medical practitioner can’t be sued more than four years after the date of the actual incident. The only exception is if you can prove the healthcare provider engaged in fraud, concealment or misrepresentation in relation to the matter. In such a case, you would have seven years rather than four to file your lawsuit. You need to contact an attorney as soon as you suspect that you suffered injuries because of any medical professional’s negligence or wrongdoing. This will help to ensure that your claim gets filed in time.
Signs of Nerve Damage
If you suffered nerve damage following a dental procedure, you may experience:
- Numbness or lack of feeling in the gums, cheeks, jaw, face, or tongue
- A tingling or pulling sensation in these areas
- Pain or burning
- A loss of the ability to taste
- Difficulty eating due to one or more of the symptoms above
- Difficulty speaking due to one or more of the symptoms above
If none of these issues would have occurred were it not for the dentist’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated. As with other lawsuits stemming from negligence, the amount of compensation you get will depend heavily on the circumstances surrounding your case.
Some of the contributing factors include the severity of your symptoms, your long-term prognosis, and the impact of the injury on your daily life. If your injuries are permanent, you’ll likely be able to claim more than someone who is expected to recover. Often dentists can’t tell you exactly when your injury should heal since the damage is not usually visible. However, if the damage is severe, it’s likely that the injury will not get better.
Contact Burnetti P.A. Today to Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Case
Don’t try to handle your medical malpractice case alone. A lot goes into investigating these cases and building a strong case against the dentist or dental practice. You should never accept a quick settlement without first speaking to an attorney and finding out whether it is fair. Call our Lakeland medical malpractice attorneys at Burnetti P.A. today to set up a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.