The purpose of this study was to elucidate the characteristics of dental malpractice trials undertaken by medical malpractice divisions and ordinary divisions in district courts. Dentistry disputes in a total of 84 trials held between 1977 and 2014 were investigated. A total of 45 were conducted by medical malpractice divisions, resulting in 18 approvals and 27 dismissals, while 39 were undertaken by ordinary divisions, leading to 24 approvals and 15 dismissals. The parameters analyzed comprised category of dental treatment, judgment, amount claimed, and amount accepted. The results revealed that the mean amount claimed in trials held by medical malpractice divisions (¥12,563,324) was lower than that sought in trials conducted by ordinary divisions. The amount accepted was also found to exceed 50% of the amount claimed in 6 trials held by ordinary divisions (maximum 75.2%), but in only 2 trials conducted by medical malpractice divisions (maximum 54.8%); the mean amount accepted in trials held by medical malpractice divisions was 24.2%. These results indicate that judgments in trials conducted by medical malpractice divisions place a stronger emphasis on resolution of dental malpractice dispute than on pursuing truth or carrying out proper legal procedures.
Keywords: Amount accepted; Amount claimed; Dentistry dispute; Malpractice.