The average settlement amount in a dental malpractice case in the United States is $68,000, according to Albert W. Chianese & Associates. Approximately 8,500 dentists are sued for malpractice annually, and the dentist's malpractice insurance typically pays the settlement.
Some settlements may reach much higher than the average, such as $14.8 million awarded by a jury in a Washington state superior court in 2008, notes Insurance Journal. The jury decided to award the plaintiff $10 million for pain, suffering, disfigurement and a permanent disability following a series of dental surgeries that left the plaintiff with her jaw fused shut.
A jury in New York awarded a plaintiff more than $3.9 million after a root canal left the patient with trigeminal neuralgia, says Albert W. Chianese & Associates. A settlement of $712,500 was reached in a case where a dentist failed to diagnose an infection. Another case awarded $500,000 to a man who suffered permanent paraesthesia of his tongue after a tooth extraction.
Dental malpractice lawsuits encompass issues such as failure to detect dental diseases, exceeding the scope of normal treatment, nerve damage, oral infections and unnecessary surgery, according to LegalMatch. Plaintiffs must prove a dentist breached his regular duty and caused harm to the patient in order to receive damages.