Dental Malpractice actions in California and the San Francisco Bay Area are a subset of medical malpractice law. Specifically, a dental malpractice action is bringing a lawsuit against a dentist, orthodontist, periodontist, or other oral surgeon for practicing dental care in a negligent manner.
In California “negligence” means that the dentist, periodontist, or other medical provider performed their care below the generally accepted standard in the surrounding area. So, for example, if one was bringing a lawsuit in San Mateo or San Francisco, the standard as to whether malpractice was committed would be by comparing the dental work that was performed (or not performed) with what other dentists in northern California would do. This means that it is usually not very helpful to have the opinion of a dentist in Florida when bringing a lawsuit in the San Francisco or greater bay area (Oakland, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Marin, San Mateo, or San Jose).
Furthermore, in California it has been determined that in order to bring a lawsuit and sue a dentist, a plaintiff is required to have an expert who will say (to reasonable degree of medical certainty) that there was negligence. The bottom line is that because dental malpractice actions are grouped in with regular medical malpractice they are subject to all of the laws and regulations that exist in medical malpractice cases.
Thus, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney/lawyer before commencing a medical malpractice action against a dentist, periodontist etc. The San Francisco based bay area attorneys of Jones & Devoy have experience with Dental Malpractice actions in California and can help you determine if you have a case and if it is best to bring an action.