Lawfarm Team
in Consumer Law Contracts Law Health Law
Asked May 23, 2016

Medical negligence

  • 1 Answer

i visited a dentist 2 years back for root canal. Paid 4k for the services but i still had pain in my tooth. I shifted from delhi to gurgaon so couldnt visit him again and now when i visited a new dentist he said the previous one had left a part of his instrument in my tooth. When i went to the old dentist with the xray ,he said it was normal and he doesnt care now i have to shell out extra 10k to get the root canal again. Kindly advise what should i do

Answer 1

Dental malpractice:This is the case of dental negligence which falls within the ambit of medical negligence. Leaving of instruments during the canal procedures is termed as an endodontic procedure which attracts second highest number of malpractice claims in medical negligence. Negligence constitutes:
  • Duty of care
  • Breach of such duty, and
  • Consequent damage
  •   The Consumer Protection Act, 1986: You are entitled to compensation under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.However, this protection is subject to a personal contract of service between you and the medical practitioner. If there were any terms/agreements/waivers that you were informed of or were made to sign any document regarding the same, you will not be entitled to any compensation.[1] In a case otherwise, you fall within the ambit of the definition of a consumer under the said Act[2] and can claim compensation.The Supreme Court[3] has observed that under the civil law, victims of negligence can get relief in the form of compensation from a civil court or the consumer forum. Proof of damage:In order to claim any kind of compensation, the onus is on you to prove that the practitioner has failed to adhere to the reasonable standards of dental practice resulting into the damage caused to you.[4] Filing of complaint: You can file a complaint against the concerned dentist in the District Forum under Section 12 of the CPA with a nominal fee of Rs. 200. You do not need any legal representative for this; you may represent your own case. The limitation period for filing the case with the District Forum is 2 years.[5] The decision of the District Forum is appealable and the appeal can go all the way to the Supreme Court with a limitation period of 30 days for each of the preceding forums.[6] The quantum of compensation is subject to the assessment of damage by the Consumer Forum.[7]   [1] Section 2 (1) (o) of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 1986; see Indian Medical Association v. V.P. Shantha and ors. [AIR (1996) SC 550) [2] Section 2(1) (d) of the CPA, 1986 [3] Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab 2005 SSCl.COM 456 Criminal Appeal No. 144-145 (2005) [4] Kanhaiya Kumar Singh v. Park Medicare Research Centre (2000) NCJ (NC) 12 [5] Section 24 (A), CPA. [6] Sections 15, 19 and 23, CPA. [7] Rebecca Samervel, Consumer Forum Tells Dentist to Pay Rs. 2 Lakhs for faulty Treatment [TOI, Oct. 12, 2015]
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