Many dentists go through their entire career without ever having faced any legal action from a patient; however, that does not mean to say that the thought that it might happen never crossed their mind. Of those dentists currently working in their dental practice, 99.99% are skilled and dedicated professionals; despite this, the threat of being sued remains for them.
That is not to say that every dentist should be working under a cloud, but rather that they are aware that the possibility of legal action such as malpractice exists and, as such, should ensure that they do all that can to ensure it never happens.
One principle in the law relating to malpractice has meant that was an additional reason why a patient might sue, and that legal concept is called ‘loss of chance’.
Today, if a patient were to bring a malpractice claim against a dentist, in order to win their case, they and their legal representatives would primarily have to prove that two things existed. The first is negligence, which would be that their dentist failed to show a duty of care to their patient.
The second that has to be proven is causation, and by that, it means it has to be proved that any harm or injury suffered by the patient was caused by the dentist’s negligence. It is important to note that if either negligence or causation are not proven, then the malpractice case is likely to fall.