Dental Malpractice Insurance
Certain professionals carry insurance that helps to protect them against lawsuits by clients or patients. Dental malpractice insurance is carried by dentists to protect them in the event of litigation. Most professionals such as doctors and lawyers carry malpractice insurance for this reason. Patients have the ability to sue a doctor or dentist in the event that the professional neglects a certain part of their care or does something that was not necessary. Dentists must protect themselves against such lawsuits by maintaining dental malpractice insurance.
Malpractice insurance works much like automobile insurance in the sense that it protects against impending litigation. Even if there is no real cause for the lawsuit, dentists must ensure that they are protected against claims by patients. If a dentist is sued then the patient bears the responsibility of proving that the malpractice did indeed occur. If a dentist fails to perform surgery correctly or prescribes or uses medications that a patient is allergic to by not considering that patient’s medical history then the dentist may be at risk for a malpractice suit. Each state carries its own regulations concerning the statute of limitations for lawsuits against dentists and other doctors. Some allow dental suits to be carried out as long as the case is filed within three years while others go as high as five years.
Dental malpractice insurance is crucial for protecting the dentist from financial responsibility when a claim is filed and won by the patient. Different insurance companies offer different benefit amounts and the specific amount chosen is normally decided by the dentist. The procedure that is involved in most paid claims regarding dental malpractice in the United States is the bridge or crown procedure. Of all claims filed over the past few years, nearly twenty percent involved bridges or crowns. While claims on this procedure typically do not pay more than just a few thousand dollars, a few of them could be financially draining on a dentist or a dental practice. Having dental malpractice insurance will help to guard against financial drainage due to a suit involving this or any other dental procedure that may go wrong.
Dental malpractice insurance will pay a patient in the event that additional treatment is needed or if the patient suffers permanent damage due to the dental treatment in question. Some reasons that patients have filed dental malpractice suits in the past include failed procedures such as root canals and bridge work, nerve injuries, inadvertently swallowing a small object during a dental procedure, loss of permanent teeth, periodontal disease, an adverse reaction to certain medications, pain, cancer, broken and/or fractured teeth or jaw bone and disfigurement. The dentist is not responsible for the damage in all of these cases but there have been instances where a dentist’s failure to properly read the patient’s file or simple neglect has led to damage to the patient. This is when dental malpractice insurance is needed to protect the dentist from losing his or her practice as well as to help them financially to settle the dispute.
Most dental practice lawsuits involve the dentist improperly or failing to diagnose a specific condition. Failing to obtain the proper consent before a procedure, failing to recommend a specialist to the patient and even treating the wrong tooth can be cause for a dental malpractice suit. Other issues that dental malpractice insurance can guard against include issues with x-rays, assault, sexual harassment and other issues that can happen in the dental practice but not necessarily involving the dentist. Those who own a dental practice need to ensure that they have the proper amount of dental malpractice insurance to protect them in the event that they or someone in their practice mistreats a patient.