Answering this article’s titular question is not exactly an easy call; there are many variables that affect a case’s viability. We’ll examine those variables to help you assess whether or not your case might have a chance in court.
Precedents for Claiming Tooth Damage
Our legal system is built upon precedents. Once there is a precedent for a particular scenario, it becomes easier for others to come forward with similar cases. Here’s a breakdown of several successful tooth-related lawsuits:
- One settlement awarded $10,000 from a premises liability claim that included a chipped front tooth.
- A defendant was awarded $40,000 from a civil battery suit where a punch caused damage to, and loss of, five teeth.
- Several settlements, ranging anywhere from $40,000 to $98,000 have arisen involving automotive accidents that also harmed an individual’s teeth.
Source: All Law
Estimating Your Claim
Estimating a claim involves assessing what amounts a jury might award the plaintiff, the defendant would be willing to settle for, and the plaintiff would find acceptable. The two leading factors here are the extent of the dental damage and the likelihood a jury will consider the defendant responsible.
Trials make accurately estimating the cost of recovery difficult. Juries tend to have the final say regarding how much money the plaintiff receives. Some damages, like medical bills and lost wages, are easier to assess, “concrete” benchmarks of damage. Another major factor is how the damage affects the plaintiff. A plaintiff may have difficulty eating, lessened self-esteem or even lose their livelihood. All these factors are all considered “pain and suffering.” If the tooth damage was severe like a knocked out or broken tooth, then getting that fixed can be expensive especially if your dental insurance considers the procedure cosmetic and not functional.
Source: Mandeville Dental Care
Tooth damage requires no testimony; the jury need only examine visual evidence and listen to a dental expert’s testimony. Since most plaintiffs have their teeth repaired before trial, its essential to document damage and verify the dental practitioner accurately documents treatment. Inadequate documentation of damage could be used against the plaintiff, causing the jury to question the damage severity.
The last issue in evaluating a case is the likelihood the defendant seems liable. Minuscule evidence of the defendant’s fault could lead to hardly any money. Even when damages are high, most defendants favor going to trial if they seem unlikely at fault. Conversely, plaintiffs tend to favor low settlements so as to avoid coming away with nothing after the trial.
As you can see there are many ways you can claim dental injuries as personal injury, but just be careful to do your homework in the first place. Proper documentation is essential for cases like this. Dental expenses can be expensive and it can be frustrating when it’s not your fault. Make sure to spend some time and see if we can help you in your recovery process and helping you gain some of those things you have lost.