Injury to inferior alveolar nerve while removing molar - $1 million verdict

The patient/plaintiff, a woman in her early sixties, visited the defendant periodontist to remove a molar in anticipation of placing an implant. According to the plaintiff’s experts, while the procedure was expected to take approximately one hour, the defendant worked for four hours. When the defendant finished, root fragments remained in the extraction area. Further, the defendant had drilled through the bone underneath the molar, injuring the nerve and causing destruction of the bone in the lower jaw.

After the procedure, the plaintiff underwent nerve-regeneration surgery. However, the plaintiff contended that she still suffers from permanent pain, numbness, tingling and loss of sensation in her chin area.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that he performed the molar removal in a negligent manner, resulting in an injury to the plaintiff’s inferior alveolar nerve. While the defendant denied that the procedure was negligently performed and claimed that the plaintiff suffered an unexpected risk of the procedure, the jury sided with the plaintiff. The jury awarded the plaintiff $1 million.

With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.