“Educating the public, patients, and other healthcare professionals on the existence and rise of these lawsuits is where it all begins” ― Dr. Arash
In today’s litigious society there has been an unfortunate increase in malicious and unwarranted lawsuits against doctors and dentists aimed at making a quick dollar. We have all been bombarded with advertisements from personal Injury lawyers and law firms who promise to win or settle your case and “If you don’t win, you don’t pay a dime!” While there are certainly legitimate instances when a lawyer is necessary to fight for the rights of someone who has a legitimate lawsuit, many of these lawyers depend on scaring doctors and dentists into submission in fear of losing their license and into settling outside of court. Juries are an easy target for these cases and can easily be swayed emotionally because after all, how many people can relate to horror stories of going to the dentist or feeling like they have been taken advantage of by the health care provider. Unfortunately, this has become a multi-billion dollar industry where law firms and “professional experts” along with the help of other doctors and dentists on their “payroll” work in a collaborative effort to expedite these cases and maximize their profits. The rise in lawsuits against health care professionals and dentists is one big reason why there is an increase in the costs of health care and dental care due to professionals having to pay higher premiums to their insurance companies and defense firms to fight these malicious law suits.
Here is how it works:
Personal Injury law firms attract, entice and seduce patients with promises of making money without any risk to the patients. Since most of the time they take these cases on “contingency “(meaning the law firm fronts the costs of the trial without the client having to pay anything) the clients feel like they have “nothing to lose” and that its worth a shot. The law firms already have deals and an “understanding” with “go to” doctors or dentists that will intake the patients and “work up” the case for the law firm and create a greater value for the law firm. Unfortunately, some unsuspecting patients unknowingly become prey to these predatory teams and undergo further unnecessary testing, pain and suffering because they are told that “all of this is done wrong and it all needs to be re-done!” Even more unfortunate are circumstances where the patients are active participants in these scenarios and lie or exaggerate their “problems” in an attempt to show great pain and suffering and to get more money. Often times, the patients end up in a more serious and problematic state after a second round of procedures have been initiated and put themselves in a position where they have irreversible damage or potential to be stuck with a bigger bill from the new predatory dentist. Now that the case has been “worked up” by the new dentist and sent back to the lawyer it is time to bring in the next team-member who will back up the new dentist and testify in court as to the legitimacy of the case. This is the “expert witness.”
The “expert witness” is usually an older and “experienced” dentist often times retired from actual practice. Some maintain professional memberships to dental societies or “volunteer” at local Universities to be able to give greater legitimacy to their name and experience level. These types of “experts” rely on professional law suits to earn a living and will often work on either defense or Plaintiff depending on who pays better. They usually charge 3 times to 10 times more per hour than any normal working professional and help increase the total “costs” the law firm can say they incurred in order to get a bigger judgment. While many expert witnesses have a legitimate background and experience in certain aspects in the field of dentistry, many present as “all knowing” experts and provide testimony to support the person who is suing and testimony against the person being sued.
These “mafia style” collaborations by lawyers, clinicians, and experts are evident not only in dental/medical malpractice but also exist in workers’ comp, employment law, and personal injury cases. Specifically in dentistry, for example, it is common knowledge that the same patient who presents to several different dentists with the same exact dental condition will often be diagnosed and treated with differing treatment plans. This is a fact and has been readily reported both by mainstream media but also through scientific literature within the respective professional fields. While this may be confusing for the patient and in a perfect world everyone’s opinions would match, it serves as the perfect ammunition for lawyers and experts to use in their claims of malpractice.
There is hope! It is important for doctors and dentists alike to protect their patients and also their respective fields against these types of predatory lawsuits. Educating the public, patients, and other healthcare professionals on the existence and rise of these lawsuits is where it all begins. Furthermore, local dental societies and peer review groups are available in each city to address legitimate and quality issues of any complaints received by patients in order to fairly and justly evaluate each case to see if any malpractice or maliciousness was performed.
Dr. Arash Hakhamian is happy to provide a complimentary consultation for any patient or dental professional who is experiencing any problems from previous dental work or from predatory litigation and will give you his fair and honest opinion and recommendations on how to resolve the situation. All consultations are 100% free of charge and fully confidential. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details or questions.