How Much is My Dental Malpractice Case Worth?
After suffering an injury at a dentist’s office, you may be wondering if you are going to receive any money for your injuries. And if you are going to receive money, how much it will be? The answer is it depends on a couple of factors. While the majority of dental offices in Seattle, Bellingham, Olympia, and Kirkland provide exceptional care and the dentists are great, there are rare cases where mistakes are made of course.
The main factor is of course the extent of your injuries. If you have minor injuries, you may receive little money at all. If you have major injuries, you have the chance to receive significant compensation. Dental malpractice cases are difficult to win for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that many times dentists are able to win their argument that they did nothing wrong or that the injury you suffered was just an unfortunate side-effect that couldn’t be avoided as part of the procedure, whether that is a root canal or an oral surgery.Categories of Damages
If you receive a settlement from your dental malpractice case, which is not always a promised or sure thing since they are difficult cases to win, you will receive either a lump sum settlement check from the dentist’s insurance company or a jury award. It is important, however, to understand the categories of damages that make up this amount because there are specific, separate categories of damages that are available to you. They are:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future wages
- Loss of consortium
- Out of pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
It probably goes without saying that all of your medical bills stemming from the dental malpractice should be paid by the insurance company. This category of damage must be covered first and foremost since you don’t want bills going into collections.
Future medical bills should also be covered as well. If you have bills from this incident that are going to be ongoing in nature, such as a future surgery, then you need to make sure that these bills are also covered or earmarked specifically with a portion of the settlement.
Lost wages are designed to compensate you for any work that you might have missed. When asserting a lost wages claim, it is essential to have some kind of documentation to support this. This can be a wage statement, a bank statement, social security earnings history, or previous tax returns. It’s also a good idea to hire an economist to assemble the numbers. The same goes for loss of future wages. If it looks like you will lose out on money at work, you also need to have something by the way of documents to support this, but to be clear, you are legally allowed to recover money for this.
Loss of consortium is an amount of money that is designed for your spouse or legal partner to compensate them for what they individually has been through and endured because of your injury. For example, if because of the negligence by the dentist, your romantic relationship was affected, then your spouse can bring their own claim forward as well.
Out of pocket expenses are normally the smallest damage available. These are things like bandages, medications you might have taken, and money for gas that you might have expended going to various appointments, which can be extensive. It is helpful to keep track of these things by saving receipts or at least putting these expenses on a debit or credit card so you can easily show an itemized ledger of your expenses and the amount to be repaid.
If you have questions concerning any of these damages, feel free to call us for a free consultation so we can explain your case in greater detail.Pain and Suffering Explained
Pain and suffering is a category of damages you can receive for your dental malpractice injury. Legally, it is also called “general damages.” This amount can vary dramatically from case to case and person to person. It may be for a small amount or a large amount. A lot of it is connected to the level of the harm that was done to you.
It is meant to compensate you for intangible things like not being able to chew or swallow like you once did, being in pain, not being able to kiss your loved one, and any and every other way your life was negatively impacted by the dental malpractice you experienced. It should be pointed out that many times the amount of money someone receives in pain and suffering is connected to the amount of their medical bills.
It would be unreasonable to expect, for example, receiving two million dollars or two dollars for a ten-thousand-dollar medical bill because those numbers are nowhere near in relation with each other. There is no math formula or specific law that instructs juries or insurance companies on how much money to award. It simply gives people a loose understanding of this.Insurance Coverage Available
Insurance coverage is important to understand in the context of dental malpractice cases because of the implications regarding payment. If you ever read the fine print of your car insurance policy, you will see that if you are in a car accident that you create, your car insurance company must hire a law firm to defend you if you are sued.
It is the same thing with dentists. If they are sued, their malpractice insurance carrier must step in and hire a law firm to defend them. The insurance company, then, is the one who will be in control and call the shots in terms of how much money to settle the case for, whether to settle the case, and how long the case will be fought. It is important to understand also that you are not suing the insurance company; rather, you are only suing the dentist or dental professional, but the insurance company will be in the background, so to speak, making decisions regarding what should be done with your case. In fact, if your case proceeds to a trial, the word insurance will neverHow The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
If you have suffered a serious dental malpractice case, you need help. Do not go through this process alone. The Jackman Law Firm has successfully negotiated and litigated hundreds of dental malpractice cases over the years and we can help you. These cases are not easy to handle and they are often fought hard by the insurance company. If you have questions or concerns, you need an attorney who can help you.
The Jackman Law Firm can help secure you money for your medical bills, future bills, lost wages, if there were any, and a fair amount of money for your pain, suffering, and inconvenience. The insurance company for the dentist will not likely just offer this to you without some serious negotiations on our part, which is what we do best.
If, by some chance, the negotiations either stall or go nowhere, we can take your case and file it in the appropriate court and litigate it to its successful outcome. We have litigated many dental malpractice cases, with particular success regarding lingual nerve injuries. Again, why go through this alone when it is likely your first time negotiating with an insurance company? We can help you.
While it may seem hard to believe, there are instances when the dentist, the dentist’s lawyer and insurance company for the dentist may either blame you entirely for what happened or hold firmly to their position that the dentist did nothing wrong. If you are facing this, you need a lawyer who can successfully and tenaciously pursue the truth by uncovering what really happened. We can interview key witnesses, including the dentist himself or herself, obtaining key documents, and we have access to the best experts in the field. In a dental malpractice case, you need a fellow dental or dental professional on your side who will write an opinion favorable to you.
The Jackman Law Firm has the know-how to make your case the most it can be. Call us for a free consultation.