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Comparative Negligence in Dental Malpractice Claims

Can a Patient’s Own Actions Limit Their Damages in a Connecticut Dental Malpractice Lawsuit?

Experienced Bridgeport injury lawyers pursue compensation for clients partially at fault

In a dental malpractice lawsuit, an injured patient sues a dentist, oral surgeon or other dental professional for failing to follow an accepted standard of care when providing treatment. To counter this type of claim, the dentist’s defense attorney may allege that the patient’s own actions contributed to their harm or prevented the patient from getting better after the procedure. In Connecticut, the state’s modified comparative negligence standard affects how much a plaintiff can recover in injury claims. At MeehanLaw, LLC, our Bridgeport attorneys have extensive experience representing clients and overcoming allegations that the patient’s own conduct contributed to the injury. We will work to prove that your dentist bears more fault for your injury than you do, to maximize your potential compensation.

How Connecticut’s modified comparative negligence rule affects damages

Connecticut follows what is known as the modified comparative negligence rule. That means a plaintiff can recover monetary damages in a personal injury lawsuit as long as the plaintiff is not found to be 51 percent or more at fault. The compensation awarded, if any, will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. On the other hand, if the majority of the fault (51 percent or more) lies with the plaintiff, then he or she cannot recover any compensation. When we advise you on a potential claim, we will investigate thoroughly and consult with dental professionals and other experts to assess the percentage of fault, if any, you may bear so that we can seek the maximum possible damage amount for your injuries.

When a dental patient’s own negligence may come into play

In dental malpractice cases where the defendant alleges comparative fault, the courts tend to focus on what occurred before and after the patient received treatment. They may look for examples of patient liability such as:

  • Providing false medical history information prior to receiving treatment
  • Failing to follow the dentist’s or oral surgeon’s instructions before or after treatment
  • Not telling the truth about the cause and nature of the injuries

For example, after a tooth is pulled, the dentist may warn a patient not to eat hard foods for a period of time because doing so could cause the extraction site to become damaged and infected. In this situation, the defense could argue that the patient’s own actions are at least partly to blame for the infection and any resulting complications such as blood poisoning. Likewise, if a patient is told not to engage in strenuous activity, such as heavy lifting, following oral surgery to prevent bleeding complications but the patient ignores that warning, their refusal to abide by the dentist’s instructions could mitigate against any claim for injury that results. With extensive experience filing dental malpractice claims for Connecticut clients, we will press for the damages you deserve even if you are found partially at fault for your injury.

Contact a proven Connecticut dental malpractice attorney about your potential for recovering compensation

MeehanLaw, LLC in Bridgeport is one of Connecticut’s leading dental malpractice firms. If you suffered an injury that you believe was caused by negligence on the part of your dentist, even if you think your own actions may have contributed to the injury, you may still be eligible for compensation. Arrange a consultation by calling 203-333-1888 or contacting us online.

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  • Bridgeport Office
    76 Lyon Terrace
    Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
    Phone: 203-333-1888
    Fax: 203-331-0107