Dental professionals enjoy a privileged status that comes from operating under a professional license. However, the terms of the license require the dentist to act responsibly with patients, staff and members of the public. However, unethical behaviors still happen in the dental industry. Some studies report thousands of instances where medical professionals acted unethically in the United States. The ability for these professionals to continue practicing without losing their credentials is shocking.
Patients are protected by local, state and federal laws. If you have experienced sexual abuse by a dentist, you have the right to bring a legal case. A civil lawsuit may entitle you to receive compensation for the harm caused by the behavior of an unethical dental practitioner. Leeds Brown Law provides exceptional legal services to members of the public who experienced sexual abuse at the dentist’s office. Our experienced lawyers can handle complex cases that involve abuse by medical doctors, staff members or others in a position of authority in the medical facility.
Sexual Abuse by Dentists, Liability Claims
Sexual abuse at any medical facility can be a traumatic experience for the patient and family members who learn about the incident. The medical facility is often seen as a place where professionals can be trusted to abide by ethical principles. In fact, medical licenses often require dentists and other medical professionals to pass examinations that include ethics. These cases are litigated under the civil code instead of the criminal code. Patients who experience sexual assault at a dental office need to be aware of this difference.
Civil Assault vs. Criminal Cases
The criminal code is familiar to many people. It established the need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime occurred. However, in civil cases, the tort law applies. This will allow victims to file charges like assault and battery. This can be done even in the absence of criminal charges. The fear of being touched in an unwanted manner isn’t necessary to establish that the person was made to fear that the contact would occur without consent. Battery means that the unwanted physical contact did occur and that it did cause harm.
Emotional trauma can also occur as a result of sexual harassment by a dentist. If you experienced mental trauma or emotional distress as a result of reckless behavior by a dental professional, you can file a legal claim. It is possible to obtain compensation for both physical and mental harm caused by the sexual harassment. The employer might also be liable in harassment cases. This can include the practice known as negligent hiring. The employer has the obligation to hire people who are responsible and maintain ethical standards at work. The employer can be held liable if the employer knew at the time of hiring that the perpetrator had a history of sexual abuse.
Punitive and Compensatory Damages for Sexual Harassment
Dentists and their employers can be found liable if the patient experienced sexual harassment at the facility. In addition, if the offender wasn’t disciplined after the complaint, you can file a claim of negligent retention against the employer. Other legal remedies are also available. For example, you may be eligible for punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to deter the offender from committing illegal acts in the future.
These penalties can also affect the perpetrator’s employer. The court will consider a variety of circumstances before awarding punitive damages. This may include the extent of the harm inflicted by the defendant as well as the wealth of the perpetrator. Punitive damages are most effective when they cause the defendant to experience real losses as a result of the verdict. Contact Leeds Brown Law to make an appointment for a free consultation if you experienced sexual harassment by a dentist.