Whatever success you may have had as a pro se, you won't succeed in any kind of malpractice case. Dental cases are particularly challenging, and not very profitable for lawyers to handle because the damages are usually limited. Therefore, few lawyers handle them and even fewer specialize in them.
Mr. Stewart, thanks for your answer. But what "complex reasons" do you refer to? I'm really curious! It really seems cut and dried to me but then, I'm buried in it - up to my missing teeth. :-)
The complex reasons are all wrapped up in the economics of modern malpractice litigation. The law requires you to prove your case with the supporting testimony of a medical expert(s). In complex dental cases, that usually means you need to retain 2 experts: a dentist to testify as to the standard of care and then an orthodontist to adequately describe the injury and repair needs. These experts will cost you and your attorney about $15k to $25k, depending on whether the cases settles prior to trial. Other case expenses will range from $10k to $20k. This is the court reporters costs, the depos, the videographer for the depos, filing fees, travel costs, copying costs, etc., etc. Therefore, all told, a "simple" malpractice case costs about $25k to $50k. Now that this is explained, there is no point in an attorney taking a dental malpractice case with a projected settlement value of under, say, $100,000. If you settle it, the attorney gets at least 1/3 or up to 45%. Plus expenses. A client may see nothing from a settlement even if you settle it for $100k! Here's the rub: it's very very hard for a dentist to do that much damage to a patient. A cardiologist? That's easy. But a dentist isn't working on an important biological system like the vascular system or the respiratory system or the GI tract...it's just someone's teeth. Hard to to do $100k in damage. Ergo, most lawyers don't specialize in this area.
When dentists charge less than cardiologist, then do more harm than good, kind of makes me wonder when attorneys are going to wake up to this new rainmaker! Cosmetic dentistry. I DO understand these suits are time-consuming, but a dentist can actually do MORE damage than a cardiologist (so says my cardio guys!). My heart is now fine, but I cannot EAT -- and making saliva is nearly impossible. These are muy importante, if you are a heart patient and type 1 diabetic. Teeth ARE actually THAT important! .I have lost my bite. I cannot eat. Trying now just to stay alive on a liquid diet for year three - it's not working, and it IS due, 100%, to lack of bite, lack of teeth. I kinda WANT to stay alive! I'm only 56 and yet I look 76! The dentist and oral surgeon removed so much bone, my face literally sags. T hey removed ALL the bone from my mouth - an "overly aggressive alveoplasty." My own team of cardiologists have been furious about this entire mess, as has my endocrinologist and the diabetic nurses at the clinic. My family is in shock. Cost of repairs? Over $150,000! Better to have tried on my own to get that than not! :-) I won't know until I try. I AM going to try. If a diabetic in CA can get a $2.67 million settlement for the IDENTICAL events, then why can't I just get enough of my money back to go pay to fix what they screwed up? Dentistry has come a long ways, baby - which is great but then, they're learning how in weekend seminars and truly "practicing" on patients. I may not win, but I will not be the last to try -- this is going to be a whole new field as dentistry grows and becomes more expensive, and has more trying things out they're not truly qualified to do. The AK Dental Board has taken these people on FOR me, but .. no settlement for repairs. That's ok, if I file, and then the Board revokes their license or puts them on probation, I hope they will then settle. If not, well .. I can say *I* tried when lawyers were afraid of losing.