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If an injured dental patient seeks a lawyer on legal web sites such as avvo.com, dental malpractice usually falls under a sub-heading of medical malpractice. This is certainly the case, and there are a number of dental procedures that commonly lead to dental malpractice claims, among them are: Root canal therapy, dental implants and puncturing the sinus cavity during a number of procedures in the upper jaw.

In order to pursue a dental malpractice case, and affidavit of an expert is required to be filed with the lawsuit in most jurisdictions. This is the same requirement as medical malpractice cases. The filing of the affidavit with the complaint necessitates that an expert in the field review the case and provide and opinion in the form of an affidavit that the treatment rendered in the case was below the standard of care. The standard of care for dentists and doctors is that they must exercise such reasonable care and skill for their patients as, under similar conditions and like surrounding circumstances, is ordinarily employed by the dental or medical profession generally. This is investigated by reviewing the treaters records, radiographs and other related information in order to determine the level of care provided by the potential defendant. The reviewing expert must have been regularly engaged in practice or teaching three of the past five years in the same area of practice or specialty, with sufficient frequency to establish an appropriate level of knowledge, as determined by the trial judge, in performing the same procedure, diagnosing the condition or rendering the treatment which is alleged to have been performed or rendered negligently by the defendant. In most cases, there is no grace period for filing the expert affidavit after the suit is filed. If there is no malpractice affidavit, the suit will be dismissed.

As discussed above, the standard of care must be violated during the procedures and care in order for there to be a case to pursue. In other words, simply because an injury occurred, does not mean there is malpractice. However, in most instance, the expert review will determine if there was malpractice and whether the malpractice caused he injury. Since dental malpractice is a form a medical malpractice, it follows that in order to pursue such claims, the injuries complained of must be extensive and permanent.

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According to a recent webmd article, dogs attack and bite over 4 million Americans every year, half of these attacks are on children between ages 5 and 9. One out of every five of those bites causes an injury that requires medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Children are also more likely than adults to be injured by a dog bite and the severity of the injuries that children sustain are often much more severe than those that adult dog attack victims suffer because children are, in many cases, unaware of the dangers of the dogs and helpless against an attack.

Although strays or other strange dogs can bite, most of the time people are actually bitten by a dog they know, which could be a friend’s dog or even the family pet. Other times, a loose dog in the neighborhood comes up upon a child and attacks.

In order to prevent dog bites and attacks:

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With the holiday season approaching, we once again have detected an increase in the number of slip and falls and trip and falls in the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport and its parking lots and approaches. This is not new and it’s hardly surprising. When the number of travelers through the airport increases, the number of accidents and injuries rises exponentially. Why? There are a number of reasons for this, but probably the biggest reason is that the airport and airline employees are overworked and stretched too thin. When this happens, safety invariably suffers. Floors are mopped without “Wet Floor” warning signs being placed to warn travelers of wet floors, airplane exit ramps are extended but not fully fastened which leads to trip hazards, dropped food and spilled drinks and water are not removed quickly and are left on the floor as hazards, airline personal are too busy to safely navigate the busy terminal in machinery, extension cords and other equipment are left on the terminal floor as trip hazards, broken seats in the terminals go un-repaired and lead to injuries; restaurants and fast food establishments in the terminals leave food and other hazards on the floor, safety checks are not performed as often as usual, elevators and escalators receive heavier than normal traffic which leads to malfunctions and safety hazards, terminal trains are often late to stops and overcrowded leading to trip and falls and other accidents, and traffic in and around the airport is at an all-time high which leads to more accidents and injuries in the parking lot and approaches to the terminals.

To have a valid premises liability claim, an injured person at the airport generally must be able to prove the following:

  • The airport (which includes the terminals, the approaches to the terminals and the surrounding parking lots and property) contained a dangerous condition;
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According to a recent article in the a respected medical journal, there is an increase in the number of dental nerve injuries following the placement of dental implants. More importantly, the genesis of the article is that this rise in the number of injuries can be avoided. Most dental nerve injuries occur after the incorrect placement of a dental implant in the lower jaw (or mandible). When the dentist does not correctly measure the available bone height between the top of the jawbone and the top of the inferior alveolar nerve, an avoidable dental nerve injury is likely to occur.

With the advent of numerous technological advancements that are not available to measure and map the jaw prior to placement of implants, these types of inferior alveolar nerve injuries are almost always due to malpractice on the part of the dentist. In my experience, most of these injuries are caused by general dentists, who are not aware of the standard of care for placing implants, and try to place implants in their office instead of referring the patient out to a specialist such as an oral surgeon, to complete the implants. Most times, the oral surgeon will plan and place the implants and then refer the patient back to the general dentist to place the crown on the implant.

Symptoms commonly experienced after a dental patient sustains an inferior alveolar nerve injury are:

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As evidenced by the recent newspaper account, victims of dog bites not only suffer physical injuries, but often suffer long-lasting emotional trauma from the attack. In the article, the writer wrote how, for health reasons, he had been walking during lunch breaks from work. One day while he was walking, someone unleashed his dog between his car and his house. Instead of running into the yard and house, the dog turned and charged the pedestrian on the sidewalk. The dog attacked, jumped on the pedestrian and bit the walker. Once she realized that she was being attacked by a dog, the pedestrian put her arm up and fortunately she was bitten on the arm (as opposed to the dog attacking her buttocks, stomach or crotch, which are common areas that dogs bite during brutal dog attacks) and the bite wound was not catastrophic. However, the trauma and resulting emotional distress, anxiety and fear of being attacked again by a dog is what has caused the most damage to this dog bite victim. This is common. In other words, many times the emotional and psychological damages sustained by a dog bite victim are more serious than the physical injury. If anyone has ever been attacked by a dog, it is easy for them to understand how debilitating this type of attack can be. Now, a pleasant walk in the neighborhood is no longer enjoyable due to the stress and fear that a dog may appear out of no where and attack.

In the case discussed above, the dog owner would be liable for all damages caused by the dog under all of the Atlanta metro county leash laws. If a dog owner allows his dog to run off leash and the dog attacks someone, the dog owner is negligent per se (a legal term meaning that the person is negligent due to the fact that they violated a state, code or law) and is liable for all damages that flow from the dog’s behavior. In fact, it is not necessary for the dog to bite someone for the owner to be liable. We have handled cases in the past where the dog has run up on people and the startled person was injured, without the dog biting anyone. This is still covered under the numerous leash laws. In essence, you must have complete control over your dog so that it cannot cause any damage to those around you. If you fail to due this, you are liable for all damages sustained due to the dog’s behavior.

Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling dog attacks, as well as wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.

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Many Atlanta dental malpractice cases result in lingual nerve injuries. It is important to understand the relationship of the lingual nerve to the regions of the third molars (wisdom teeth) on both sides of the jaw.

Over 85% of dental patients have lingual nerves which run a regular course. In other words, over 85% of the patients’ lingual nerves runs in the exact location that the dentist expects it to be and this is usual and normal.

According to most studies, the horizontal distance, or the distance from the lingual nerve to the third molar (wisdom tooth) socket, on average, is 4.4 mm. The vertical distance, or the distance from the lingual nerve to the lingual horizontal rim, on average, is almost 17mm.

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Unlike the medical professional, the dental profession in many states including Georgia, has a lack of oversight over those dental professionals who choose to conduct dental procedures for which they do not have the qualifications and skills to perform. Legally, any dentist can perform any dental procedure. The problem that arises however, is that some general dentists take this liberty too far. As an Atlanta dental malpractice attorney, I have been contacted by victims of dental malpractice who have suffered serious injuries under the following situation:

  • A general dentist attempting to install dental implants in the maxillary (upper jaw) piercing the sinus cavity and leading to serious infections that would not heal;
  • A general dentist attempting to extract a impacted wisdom tooth and damaging the inferior alveolar nerve in the process;
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According to a recent study, medical malpractice could be the third-leading cause of death in the United State after cancer and heart disease.

Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another. “It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care,” Makary said. Makary explained that he and co-author Michael Daniel, also from Johns Hopkins, conducted the analysis to shed more light on a problem that many hospitals and health-care facilities try to avoid talking about.

Respiratory disease, accidents, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, flu and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide round out the leading causes of death in America. Interestingly, medical malpractice and accidents account for almost 400,000 deaths each year in the United State. To term these causes of death as “accidents” is a bit misleading, since many of these incidents are caused by the negligence of a third-party and should more accurately be termed wrongful death. In the case of medical error, the negligence is attributed to the doctor performing below the applicable standard of care which leads to death and should more aptly be termed medical malpractice. In the case of an accident, many times the incident is caused by the negligence of a third-party tortfeasor, which could be a careless automobile driver, negligent premises owner or a person who does something negligent which leads to the death of another.

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A lawsuit filed against the City for a breach of its duty to properly maintain a sidewalk has resolved for $300,000. In a one-person bike wreck, the plaintiff lost control of her bike due to an uneven portion of sidewalk which was allegedly not properly maintained by the City. The crash resulted in a broken hip and wrist and also aggravated an earlier back problem, all of which caused pain, suffering and lost wages. At the time of the accident, there was a lift of about 2 inches on one of the sections of sidewalk beneath a viaduct which the plaintiff hit while riding her bike and went over and suffered significant injuries. The uneven portion of sidewalk which allegedly led to the crash has since been repaired.

With few exceptions, cities such as the City of Atlanta are not liable under the traditional theory of negligence for defects in roads and sidewalks. However, a static defect, such as an uneven section of sidewalk can be deemed to be a nuisance.

O.C.G.A. § 41-1-1 defines a nuisance as “anything that causes hurt, inconvenience, or damage to another and the fact that the act done may be otherwise lawful shall not keep it from being a nuisance. Lawful acts become nuisances when they are conducted in a manner causing hurt, inconvenience, or damage to another.
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As this recent article detailing the death of a young child as a result of dental care shows, damages from dental malpractice can include serious injuries such as damage to the dental nerves, pain, numbness and even death.

After their 6-year-old son died following a dental procedure, a California couple went to the California Legislature, hoping a new law could prevent other families from experiencing similar tragedy. Unfortunately, what they learned is that, sometimes, the quest for truth is not what the state dental boards strive for. According to the article, in California, for example, the California Dental Association spent about $664,000 lobbying last year – more than the pharmaceutical industry trade group or the association for Hollywood movie studios.

As an Atlanta attorney who regularly handles dental malpractice claims, I have been interviewed on just how difficult it is to know what the Georgia Board of Dentistry is and is not doing when it comes to investigations. While it is hard to know just what the Georgia Board of Dentistry is up to, we do know that they rarely take action, and this is unfortunate because, as discussed above, dental malpractice can and often does lead to horrific injuries which in many cases are permanent.