In order to pursue a dental malpractice lawsuit in Georgia, the injured Plaintiff must attach an affidavit to the complaint from a dental expert stating at least one act of malpractice which caused or substantially contributed to the injuries complained of in the lawsuit. The choice of which dental area specialty the expert will possess is usually dictated by the specialty and or treatment involved in the case.
Many experts in Georgia dental malpractice cases are general dentists, oral surgeons, endodontists, and periodontists. These, among other specialists, are able to opine regarding the breaches of the standard of care and the causation of the dental injury in these types of cases. In addition, subsequent treating dentists and doctors, such as an oral & maxillofacial surgeon or a micro-neurosurgeon are in good position to give their opinion about the mechanism of the injury (i.e., was the dental injury caused by a mechanical trauma, chemical burn, swelling and compression in the area, or something else?) Qualified dental experts are critical to the pursuit of a dental malpractice case. Therefore, it is imperative to involve experts in the case as early as possible.
The law in Georgia allows different specialists to testify as experts, even if the specialty is different from that of the defendant. For example, although it is probably not a good idea, a general dentist who performs complicated extraction can opine regarding the standard of care and whether an oral surgeon met the applicable dental malpractice standard of care while performing and extraction which caused an injury. This is so because there is “substantial overlap” between what the general dentist and oral surgeon do on a regular basis, and therefore, it is permissible for the general dentist to testify in the case involving the oral surgeon.
The expert affidavit in a dental malpractice case will usually contain something like the following:
Upon reviewing these materials, and based upon the facts set forth therein, my education, training and experience in the dental profession, and my knowledge of the standards of care, skill and diligence exercised and required of by the dental profession and dentists generally in the United States in treating patients with the conditions of the Plaintiff, it is my opinion that the Defendant failed to exercise the degree of skill, care, and diligence in treating Plaintiff that is ordinarily exercised by dentists and the dental profession in the United States generally under similar circumstances and like surrounding conditions, and, as the direct and proximate result of such failure, Plaintiff was damaged and injured. While there are no “magic words,” a statement to this effect is normally required to appear somewhere in the affidavit in order to pass legal muster.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling 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.