Common Forms of Dental Malpractice

Dental care is unmistakably important–not only does it prevent gum disease and tooth decay, but it also plays a major role in a person’s overall health. Americans go to a dentist for the promise of effective dental care and safe practices, as well as to achieve an attractive smile. Still, even with all their training, dentists make mistakes; statistics from the Annual Report of the National Practitioner Data Bank show that 13.5% of dentists had a malpractice claim made against them between 1990-2003.

According to a study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association, prosthodontics, or prosthetic dentistry, sees the highest frequency of dental malpractice, with 28% of malpractice cases arising from this area. Many prosthodontics treatments involve tooth replacement methods such as dentures and bridges, which can lead to severe issues for the patient if not handled correctly. Prosthodontists also crown decaying teeth, although some dentists may treat a patient with an unnecessary number of crowns to make a profit. As always, if you are unsure about your dentist’s recommendation, consult another dentist for a second opinion.

Endodontics, the field of dentistry that deals with the internal parts of a tooth, claims another 17% of dental malpractice suits. Dental professionals occasionally fail a root canal procedure due to negligence with instrumentation and materials. Serious issues such as accidental breakage of instrumentation may occur even when a dentist is acting within standard of care, although he or she is required to try to extract the broken piece and record the incident. Occasionally, dentists may even damage the nerves in the lower jaw, which can have serious consequences for the patient.

Dental malpractice can cause pain, disfigurement, and other long-term symptoms. Attorneys from Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® say that acquainting yourself with the most common dental mistakes can help you recognize if you are a victim of dental malpractice.

Division of Property in a Divorce

Attorneys at Alexander & Associates say that the most challenging part of a divorce settlement is often the division of property between you and your spouse. Although couples often choose to divide their property and debts on their own, sometimes an agreement cannot be met–in this case, the division is decided by the court.

In Texas, all property is designated as separate property (owned by one spouse) or community property (shared ownership between both spouses). Texas law necessitates an equal division of community property, although each spouse keeps his or her respective separate property. But if not in Texas, it is very important to check on your states specific laws on divorce and property division. 

Dividing liquid assets such as retirement and bank accounts is simple and straightforward. Dividing real property (homes and rentals) can be a process fraught with disagreement. Typically the property must be appraised by a real estate expert, though choosing an unbiased and qualified expert is often difficult. Final determination of the value of any real property is a responsibility that falls to the judge or jury.

After all property and debts have been identified, the divorce court may divide the community property between the spouses. The process depends on a number of factors. The wages, age, and education of the two spouses are considered, as is which spouse has possession of the children. The past contributions to the community estate are also noted; many divorce settlements end in a 60-40 split if both spouses are employed but the earnings are heavily skewed to one.

Coming to a settlement that is fair and acceptable to both parties in a divorce is complicated. Many people undergoing divorce proceedings find it exceedingly helpful to seek the services of an attorney, who can expedite the process and assist in equitably dividing debts and property.

Being Ready for the Upcoming Hurricane Season

Months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast, causing more than $68 billion in damage, residents of the Atlantic coast have been buckling down for what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has designated an “extremely active” hurricane season. Attorneys from the Williams Kherkher law firm say that many families may be able to make insurance claims to help them recover from their losses.

Hurricane season, which begins on June 1 and typically lasts for six months, was particularly dangerous last year due to Sandy’s inland run, according to NOAA acting administrator Kathryn Sullivan, who warned East Coast residents to be wary of storms.

…It’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline,” Sullivan said. “Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall.”

A combination of climate factors are known to greatly influence the strength of the hurricane season. Meteorologists are particularly concerned this year about warm Atlantic waters and wind patterns from Africa that are ripe for hurricane formation.

NOAA employees offered tips for being prepared and aired public service announcements during National Hurricane Preparedness Week in late May. Those tips may come in handy this week for residents of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, who experienced a powerful two-day thunderstorm that had some reminiscing about the events of October of last year.

It looked like [Hurricane] Sandy all over again,” Broomall, Pennsylvania resident Jaclyn Sioutis said. “The wind was just crazy.”

Since hurricane season began on June 1, only two storms have developed. Tropical Storm Andrea made landfall on June 5 in Florida and Tropical Storm Barry struck Mexico on June 20.

Chrysler Fights Vehicle Recall

Chrysler threw down the gauntlet to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this month when it refused the NHTSA’s request to recall nearly 2.7 million potentially defective Jeep Grand Cherokees. After two weeks of bargaining, NHTSA caved to Chrysler’s refusal and lowered the recall to only 1.56 million vehicles. According to experts, the Detroit-based automaker’s defiant challenge may set the tone for other company’s dealings with the NHTSA.

Automobile defects occur constantly in the United States–tires blow out, airbags fail, and brakes stop working. At best, such defects can cause a minor inconvenience. Unfortunately, many automobile defects are responsible for more serious problems including vehicle accidents and resulting personal injuries. 

In today’s market, automobile recalls are frequent, as the NHTSA attempts to improve highway safety by reducing the number of potentially dangerous vehicles on the road. In the past few weeks alone, hundreds of thousands of vehicles have been recalled, from 2006-2007 Honda automobiles with a possible loss of braking power to nearly 200,000 GM vehicles with high fire risk due to a short in the driver’s side door’s electrical system.

Recalls are costly for automakers, especially when the number of recalled vehicles stretches into the thousands or hundred thousands. Chrysler’s surprising request led to superior negotiations on its part, cutting the number of recalled vehicles and lowering the amount of service each recalled Jeep will require. It would have cost Chrysler much more money to issue repairs on the over one million cars it fought to exclude from the recall.

Though the NHTSA may have backed down, many Americans still demand a full recall of Jeeps with potentially faulty gas tanks. Last week, Jenelle Embrey of Virginia towed a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee to a nearby Chrysler dealership, along with 127,000 signatures she collected to petition the NHTSA to force a full recall. Chrysler continues to rebuff the accusations of defects.

The 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee meets and exceeds all applicable federal safety standards,” the company wrote in a statement. “[It] has an excellent safety record over many registered vehicle years.”

This is a complicated issue that crosses the borders between public safety, government regulation of business, and business rights. While it may seem as though Chrysler should have no right to refute an order from the government, it also seems as though the government should not be able to completely control a business either. Nevertheless, this is certainly a public safety issue, so the right balance between these competing interests must be found.