Author Topic: Do I have a dental malpractice case?  (Read 1751 times)

TheGadfly

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« on: February 27, 2019, 09:19:26 AM »
I recently had to get a crown replaced by my current dentist. It cost me $500 after insurance.

I had to get it replaced because my previous dentist failed to properly prepare the original tooth surface, which led the crown to crack. I didn't suffer any periodontal problems or tooth decay (but probably would have if left untreated). The original procedure cost me $800 after insurance.

I have documentation from my current dentist that the original crown was improperly seated, along with x-rays.

I'm wondering if I A) have a case for restitution of some sort and B) want to bother going through the trouble. It would be nice to at least have the $500 replacement procedure covered but this is a pretty small claim given the potential hassle, especially if I hire a lawyer.

Anyone have experience with this?

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1650
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2019, 10:08:58 AM »
I recently had to get a crown replaced by my current dentist. It cost me $500 after insurance.

I had to get it replaced because my previous dentist failed to properly prepare the original tooth surface, which led the crown to crack. I didn't suffer any periodontal problems or tooth decay (but probably would have if left untreated). The original procedure cost me $800 after insurance.

I have documentation from my current dentist that the original crown was improperly seated, along with x-rays.

I'm wondering if I A) have a case for restitution of some sort and B) want to bother going through the trouble. It would be nice to at least have the $500 replacement procedure covered but this is a pretty small claim given the potential hassle, especially if I hire a lawyer.

Anyone have experience with this?

Cost/Benefit here.

You might actually win, after weeks/months, $500. If you could actually prove that they owe you MORE than $500, say $5,000-$15,000 for some reason... maybe.

Ichabod

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2019, 10:26:43 AM »
I don't think you could get a lawyer to take the case. Plaintiff lawyers work for 25-30% of a judgment. Your damages are $500. 30% of that is only $150. Could a lawyer resolve your claim in an hour or two? Doubtful.

I'd try writing a demand letter to the doctor. You could complain to insurance, leave bad reviews, maybe file a complaint with your state's dental board. Failing that, most states have small claims courts where lawyers are unnecessary. The jurisdiction of those courts is normally limited by the amount of damages, but I could see professional malpractice cases also being excepted.

In your shoes, I'd probably write a couple of strongly worded letters asking for relief threatening to leave reviews and leave complaints with insurance/etc. I'd expect to get no response or at least not a satisfactory one, but it's worth a shot. I wouldn't take them to court.

fuzzy math

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1280
  • Age: 39
  • Location: At the lake
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2019, 10:36:49 AM »
I wish you did but concur with the opinions of other people who have posted.

My DH and I both had a scenario where 9 months after getting dental work done at a clinic, there was rot discovered under the filling and we both ended up getting root canals and crowns. We had already moved and couldn't go back to the old clinic to complain or demand care. I'm not sure we would have wanted further care from there honestly. In the interest of moving on we decided not to threaten them. It was bad enough paying for 2 root canals and 2 crowns.


pigpen

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2019, 03:01:39 PM »
Agree with others. Unless you have some form of small claims court in your state where you could sue the person yourself, I doubt you'd find a lawyer to take the case for the hope of winning that small an amount. And even if you do have the option to sue them yourself, do you want to spend the time and energy for $500? I think I'd move on and be thankful it wasn't worse.

ender

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6530
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2019, 06:23:21 PM »
Stuff like this bothers me. Where it's easier for folks to let businesses be shady than to try to get them to be honest.


expatartist

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2187
  • Location: The Big Lychee
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2019, 06:49:51 PM »
Sorry to hear this. Agree, probably not worth a lawyer's time. I may have something similar. My dentist here (HCOL city) replaced a bad filling with another bad one. Granted it was in a hard to reach place far in the back. I kind of tried not to think about it. The following month I was in Thailand (LCOL but quality dental care) for a general check-up and less urgent work, the dentist there railed on how terrible my filling was from the dentist here, how impossible it was to floss with the new filling. He was so aggressive and insistent he put in a new filling that I left. But now there's decay from that filling and occasional pain. Really need to get it taken care of. Thing is, these dentists mention I may need a root canal but no one seems to really know if I need one. They seem to want to use it as a precautionary measure. 20 years ago I had a potentially unnecessary root canal and really don't want to repeat the experience.

green daisy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 107
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2019, 05:56:45 AM »
How long had it been since the original crown was placed?  Unless you have new insurance, itís probably been more than 5 years.  Insurance wonít pay for a replacement if itís within 5 years.  My office will replace crowns/fillings at no charge if they fail within a year.  In your case, the dentist will probably blame the lab who fabricated the crown.

I would just send a letter with a copy of the x-ray and request a refund.  You probably wonít get it, but itís worth a try.  They might be willing to refund you to save from getting a poor online review.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6981
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2019, 09:42:08 AM »
I requested a refund of 5500  from a dentist out of state for work that cost 11k.  I thought we should split it because a local dentist said the other dentist should not have done the implants because I didn't have enough bone.  I wrote a email and they replied in 2 days and after I signed a form saying he was not at fault and stating what he would pay I received a check. I was shocked at how easy it was.

TheGadfly

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2019, 09:37:53 AM »
Thanks all.

I figured my chances were slim. I appreciate hearing your experiences!

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 15953
  • Age: 63
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Do I have a dental malpractice case?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2019, 10:32:52 AM »
I'd send a polite letter asking for a refund. Then I'd consider small claims court, because I think you have a decent case. If neither work, take your business elsewhere and get on with your life.

FWIW, where I live, a single crown costs more than both of yours, if that's any consolation.

And @expatartist, you might save enough by going back to that dentist in Thailand to more than cover the cost of the needed work and the trip.