Broward County Jury Returns $1,173,610 Verdict for Victim of Dental Malpractice
On November 1, 2021, a jury in Broward County, Florida returned one of the largest dental malpractice verdicts in Florida history. The Plaintiff was represented by attorneys Francisco J. Viñas and Jarrett DeLuca of Viñas & DeLuca, PLLC. After deliberating for roughly three hours, the jury returned its verdict of $1,173,610 for the Plaintiff, finding that the Defendant dentist failed to act as a reasonably careful dentist and that his negligence caused injury to the Plaintiff. The verdict is believed to be the second largest Florida dental malpractice verdict reported in the last 25 years and the largest ever in Broward County. The malpractice trial spanned five days, including two days of jury selection, and testimony by dental experts retained by both sides. The jury’s verdict included $700,000 for past pain and suffering, $400,000 for future pain and suffering, and $73,610 for past and future dental expenses. The highest settlement offer before trial was $150,000.
The Plaintiff claimed that the Defendant negligently recommended and performed a full mouth extraction of all her teeth rather than advising her of other, more conservative treatment options which could have preserved many of her natural teeth. The Plaintiff also claimed that the Defendant was negligent in his initial dental evaluation, surgical planning, surgical placement of nine (9) dental implants, and follow up care. Since the Defendant’s surgery in 2016, six (6) of the nine (9) dental implants placed by the Defendant dentist failed and had to be removed. This left the Plaintiff with a deficient dental appliance (i.e., “temporary” denture) for nearly five years. During trial and in closing argument, the Plaintiff’s counsel emphasized evidence showing how the Plaintiff’s life and physical appearance had been permanently affected by the Defendant’s negligence. The dental malpractice lawsuit was filed in late 2018 and was litigated for years before reaching trial.
The Plaintiff’s expert testified at trial for several hours and explained why the Defendant never should have recommended or performed a full mouth extraction surgery on the Plaintiff. According to his testimony, even if the Defendant was going to proceed with extracting all the Plaintiff’s teeth, then he should have first addressed multiple active infections in the Plaintiff’s mouth and obtained a Cone beam CT (a widely available 3D imaging tool commonly used by general dentist to plan out dental implant surgery). He also testified that the Defendant should have provided antibiotics before surgery and preserved pre-extraction molds of the Plaintiff’s teeth to aide in forming final prosthesis.
Throughout trial, defense counsel, the Defendant, and the Defendant’s dental expert maintained that the Defendant’s surgery was appropriate for the Plaintiff given her dental history and x-ray findings, that there was no evidence of surgical error, and that the Defendant’s follow up care met the standard of care for a reasonably careful dentist. The defense claimed that the Plaintiff’s implants failed because her bone failed to integrate with the dental implants, a known complication of dental implant surgery.
The jury deliberate for approximately three hours before returning the seven-figure verdict. Attorneys for the Plaintiff feel that the jury’s award reflects that jurors understood how badly the Defendant’s actions affected the Plaintiff’s day-to-day life while also recognizing that her condition may improve with future dental surgery and care.
Viñas & DeLuca, PLLC proudly represent individuals and families in Miami Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and throughout Florida who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones due to the negligence of others.