Can I sue for bad dental work in small claims court?

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Question:

My dental work had to be repaired because of the poor workmanship of my former dentist. Can I file a claim in small claims court -- seeing as how I had to pay for the same crowns twice?

Answer:

Of course you can file. However, the more important question is: Can you win? To emerge a small claims winner, you'll need to prove not only that your first dentist failed to meet your standards, but that he or she failed to use ordinary professional skills in doing your crowns. (In other words, your dentist committed dental malpractice.)

Unless the dentist's failure was staggeringly obvious, proving this may require the opinion of another dentist -- perhaps the person who did the repairs. It would be best if that dentist could come to your court hearing and testify in person.

The trouble is, a lot of dentists know each other -- they're part of the same professional clan, go to the same conferences, and so on. It might be tough to get one to testify against the other.

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