Dental Malpractice 

Under Ohio R.C. 2305.113(E)(6), a “dental claim” is defined as any claim that is asserted in any civil action against a dentist, or against any employee or agent of a dentist, and that arises out of a dental operation or the dental diagnosis, care, or treatment of any person.

The four elements necessary to prevail on a medical malpractice claim include:

  • the medical professional owed a duty to the patient;
  • the medical professional breached this duty;
  • the breach was a proximate cause of the patient's injuries; and
  • damages.

Both doctors and dentists receive similar training and require professional competency. For this reason, dentists are required to exercise a correspondingly high standard of care as required of physicians.

In most cases, expert medical testimony is required to establish the standard of care owed by a medical professional and also that a breach of that standard of care proximately caused the damages that resulted. Exceptions exist where such testimony is not required when the breach of the standard of care and resultant damages are obvious and require no specialized knowledge.

Attorneys for Dental Malpractice in Cincinnati, Ohio

Many of these cases involve allegations of malpractice against a dentist or their employer for professional negligence in the practice of dentistry and the tort of providing dental treatment without having first obtained the patient's informed consent. When the plaintiff alleges that a dentist is liable for either the tort of dental malpractice or the tort of lack of informed consent, liability is dependent upon the plaintiff producing expert testimony that the dentist's conduct was the proximate cause of an injury suffered by the claimant.

If you were the victim of dental malpractice, you might be able to sue your dentist or other health care professions who acted negligently. Contact an experienced attorney for dental malpractice claims.

Steiden Law Offices represents the victims of dental malpractice throughout Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. The firm has offices in Cincinnati, West Chester and Mainesville, Ohio, as well as Covington and Florence, Kentucky. Our caring and compassionate personal injury attorneys can review your case.

Call to schedule a free discussion.

Lack of Informed Consent in a Dental Malpractice Case

In Ohio, the elements of the tort of lack of informed consent include:

  1. The dentist fails to disclose to the patient and discuss the material risks and dangers inherently and potentially involved with respect to the proposed therapy, if any;
  2. The unrevealed risks and dangers which should have been disclosed by the dentist actually materialize and are the proximate cause of the injury to the patient; and
  3. A reasonable person in the position of the patient would have decided against the therapy had the material risks and dangers inherent and incidental to treatment been disclosed to him or her prior to the therapy.

Statute of Limitations for a Dental Malpractice in Ohio

Lawsuits in Ohio for medical malpractice, including dental malpractice, generally have a one-year statute of limitations that begins to run when the patient discovers, or in the exercise of reasonable care and diligence should have discovered, the resulting injury. In some cases, the statute of limitations begins to run when the dentist-patient relationship for that condition terminates.

Therefore, as a general rule, under R.C. 2305.113(A), “an action upon a * * * dental * * * claim shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrued.”

When determining whether the statute of limitations applies, the courts must look to the facts of the case in order to find:

  • when the injured party became aware, or should have become aware, of the extent and seriousness of his condition;
  • whether the injured party was aware, or should have been aware, that the condition was related to a specific medical service previously rendered him; and
  • whether the condition would put a reasonable person on notice of the need for further inquiry as to the cause of the condition.

In determining the first prong of the test regarding the injured party's awareness of the extent and seriousness of his condition, the court must find that a ‘cognizable event’ occurred that put the party on notice that his injury is related to a specific medical procedure and of the need to pursue his possible remedies.

The court will consider constructive knowledge of facts, rather than actual knowledge of their legal significance. In fact, in some cases, constructive knowledge of the facts is enough to start the statute of limitations running under the discovery rule. In other words, the plaintiff need not have discovered all the relevant facts necessary to file a claim in order to trigger the statute of limitations.

One important exception exists. Under R.C. 2305.113(B) (formerly R.C. 2305.11(B)), an exception to the statute of limitations might apply to give the plaintiff the opportunity to extend the one-year statute of limitations for an additional one hundred eighty days from the time proper notice is given to potential defendants. 

In fact, R.C. 2305.113(B)(1) provides:

If prior to the expiration of the one-year period specified in division (A) of this section, a claimant who allegedly possesses a * * * dental * * * claim gives to the person who is the subject of that claim written notice that the claimant is considering bringing an action upon that claim, that action may be commenced against the person notified at any time within one hundred eighty days after the notice is so given.

The law in Ohio and Kentucky is complicated when it comes to dental malpractice claims. It is important to immediately seek out the services of an attorney to discuss your case if you were the victim of dental malpractice. With offices throughout the greater Cincinnati area, our attorneys can help you understand your rights and determine how much your case might be worth. Call today to discuss your case.

This article was last updated on Friday, September 1, 2017.

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