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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.

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Medication errors in Georgia have been exploding in the last few years. One of the reasons, is that pharmacies, hospitals, doctors offices, and other medical providers are overworked and understaffed. The difficulties they face are compounded by the number of prescriptions that are filled each day. Many of these prescriptions are for drugs that, if mis-filled can cause dangerous side effects, including but not limited to permanent disability, blindness and even death.

Many of these prescription error cases could and should have been avoided by proper protocols in place at the pharmacy. Many pharmacists do not double-check the work of pharmacy technicians to ensure that the prescriptions are filled correctly with the correct medication, correct dosage, correct instructions and so on and so forth. Due to the potentially lethal consequences of a prescription errors, there is no excuse for filling a prescription with the wrong medication or with the wrong dose with the wrong instructions are for the wrong patient or any of the other plethora of prescription areas that we see on a regular basis.

Patients who receive these medications should be vigilant in making sure that number one number one medication that you received from the pharmacy is supposed to be yours, that it is in fact the drug that it says it is on the packaging both on the paper packaging that the pill bottle is in and also on the pill bottle itself, and that the dosages are correct as you know them to be as prescribed by your doctor. While many people might question why they have to be so vigilant, the answer is that if you take the drug as a result of a prescription error, you run the risk of seriously harming your health. And, while you do have the ability to seek compensation for the injuries caused by taking the wrong drug or in the wrong doses because of the prescription error, this would be of little relief if the drug causes a permanent disability or death. In fact, most prescription areas are harmless and did not result in debilitating injuries. However the prescription errors that do result in harm are often catastrophic and life-changing. Prescription errors often result in serious injuries such as brain damage, loss of vision which many times is permanent, heart problems, blood pressure issues, severe allergic reactions which manifest themselves many times with permanent injuries to your skin, eyes and other organs of the body.

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As an Atlanta dental malpractice lawyer, I am well aware of a number of dental injuries that clients suffer due to improperly performed root canals, as well as from other dental procedures that are performed below the standard of care. Some of the leading dental injuries related to root canals are abscesses, infections, perforation of the sinuses, and facial nerve injuries.

I recently read an article which discusses a possible link between root canals and cancer. Interestingly, the article discusses how, even if the root canal is done correctly and all of the FDA approved materials are used, there could be a link between having the root canal and contracting cancer. While this makes for interesting reading, I have not seen any credible evidence to support this conclusion, and the American Dental Association (“ADA”) and other dental organizations have not, to my knowledge found this type of causal link.

However, with this being said, I still believe in being careful and only undergoing a root canal if it is absolutely necessary to save your tooth. The reason? The many dental injuries that occur when a root canal is not performed properly. As discussed above, many clients suffer from injuries that are caused by improper root canals. Some injuries occur when the dentist drills past the end of the root canal when cleaning the roots before filling them. In the upper maxillary teeth, this often results in a perforation of the sinus, communication between the mouth and the sinus, and infection. In the lower mandibular teeth, this can result in an injury to the mandibular nerves that run below the lower teeth and which run especially close to the roots of the molars. This type of injury is often very serious, as the resulting nerve damage causes loss of sensation and innervation to the chin, lip and jaw area. Sometimes, this numbness is combined with pain, which can be especially debilitating.

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The common law rule in Georgia does support the traditional theory of liability, i.e., the first bite rule, in determining an owner’s responsibility for a dog bite attack. This common law rule has been codified in Georgia at O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7, which states: A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and, who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured.

Despite this statute being known as the first bite rule, it is not necessary in Georgia to prove that the dog has bitten before in order to for the owner to be liable. Instead, the plaintiff must show that the dog has demonstrated a propensity to bite in the past that caused the injury in the present case. In other words, as long as there is an incident or incidents in the past that would put a prudent owner on notice to anticipate that the dog would bite or attack persons (as opposed to other animals, which would not be sufficient notice to hold the dog owner liable for the attack), the owner is liable for the damages caused by the dog.

Recent decisions have shown that the Georgia courts are replacing the one bite rule with legal theory that the owner of a dog must act reasonably to protect the public from his dog if the owner knows or has reason to know of the dogs vicious propensity to bite. Importantly, whether the owner knew or had reason to know of the prior acts is usually a question for the jury at trial rather than a question of law for the judge. This newer standard is in line with other jurisdiction and makes good legal sense.