Dentist are too liable for deficiency.
A dentist is a doctor who deals specifically with the teeth and it is his duty to practice dentistry with due care . If due tohisbreach of duty a patient is injured , the patient can bring a lawsuit against the dentist.
If dentist does not take care and an injury is caused to a patient because of his lack of care and there is a connection between negligent act and the resultant injury then dentist may have to face litigation if the service has been paid.
Burden of proof : lies on the patient to prove that he has suffered damage and negligent service.
Dental negligent acts.
- If he fails to attend an emergency it is negligence on his part.
- Dentist should aim at to prevent cross infection between patients . If he endanger the lives of other patients it amounts to criminal negligence.
- If dentist fails to give information about the procedure and possible outcomes it is a negligent act.
- If dentist attempts to treat beyond their level of competence.
- If consent of patient is not obtained it is a malpractice action.
- Dentist must give proper instructions and clear advice.
- A dentist if cause harm to the public by exposure of harmful substances or by harming the patient.
Patient’s dissatisfaction , charging fee from him for treatment and if patient doesn’t follow dentist advice these acts are not negligent on part of dentist.
Consumer Protection Act.
Under section 2(0) of the consumerprotection act deals with dental negligence as Indian Dentist Act has no provision to deal with the complaints of patients and to take action against them.
Procedure of complaint.
A complaint can be made regarding deficiency causing discomfort , loss of activity , loss of money , loss of workdays or quality of life etc.
- Section 24 of Consumer Protection Act states that a complaint has to be filled within two years of date when incident happens.
- Section 13 of Consumer Protection Act states that a copy of complaint is to be given to dentist directing him to answer in 30 to 45 days regarding the complaint of his acts if he does not do so it amounts to contempt of court.
- Dentist can deny the allegations.
- District forum has to decide the case in a period of 3 months if it is satisfied then it will ask the dentist to pay such amount as compensation to the consumer which will be decided.
- An appeal against the order of district forum lies to state commission or national commission within a period of 30 days if not made within that period then the complaint has to satisfy the court for delay by giving a reasonable reason for the delay . The state commission or national commission has to be decide the case in 90 days.
- If the complaint is found to be frivolous the complainant shall pay dentist cost not exceeding to ₹10,000.
- If dentist or complainant does not comply with the order of district forum or state commission or national commission then whosoever he is will be punished with an imprisonment not less than one month or with fine of ₹ 2,000 which may extend to ₹10,000 or both.
Jurisdiction of consumer courts.
- District forum jurisdiction : up to ₹ 20 lakhs.
- State commission jurisdiction: above ₹ 20 lakhs and up to ₹ 1 crore.
- National Commission jurisdiction: above ₹ 1 crore.
Dentist are negligent sometimes thus this legal process was made to make them clear of their negligent acts and not to practice them and if they do so the consumer can follow the procedure in order to get compensation of injuries.
This post is written by our guest writer Bharti Sharma of HP University Shimla. For any info on consumer related complaints, please dial 7888-356908.