General civil cases[Case: 6]

The Case of Dental Malpractice

Background of the case

The client was a young Filipino lady who could not speak Japanese. She had had her wisdom tooth extracted at a Japanese dentist. The infection spread to the lower jaw and neck (submandibular cellulitis), and respiratory difficulties occurred. She was hospitalized for treatment then came to our office to recover the cost for hospitalization from the dentist.

How we solved the case

Since her mother tongue was English and she could hardly speak Japanese, we communicated in English.

Our lawyer had handled dental malpractice cases before. As with the past, we obtained a medical record from the dentist. Then carefully checked if the treatment was negligent. As we found a couple of negligent acts, we thoroughly examined if there were causations between the negligence and  the severe result. We asked for insight from a dentist.

The client also developed anaphylactic shock, which the prescribed antibiotics may have caused. So we also looked into the relationship between the symptoms and this mandibular inflammation.

As a result, we concluded that there was no negligence in extracting the wisdom tooth. Still, the treatment after the extraction was negligent,  and we saw  misdirection to the client. We also concluded that there was causation between the negligence and the inflammation of the lower jaw. Our lawyer sent a letter to the dentist claiming the payment of hospitalization expenses and the compensation for the client’s emotional distress by entirely pointing out the negligence by the dentist.  The dentist requested a negotiation instead of litigation. After having considerable negotiations, the dentist admitted the liability and agreed to pay a certain amount of compensation.

Key point

In the cases of medical malpractice including dentistry, many of them are brought into litigation. Also, the doctors and dentists are represented by the insurance companies.

With that in mind, we prepared the long and detailed letter containing prima facie. In this case, the letter helped the early resolution.

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