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What Dentists Need to Know About Medical Professional Liability Insurance

Medical professional liability insurance, also called medical malpractice insurance, is essential for any dentist. Without it, a medical malpractice lawsuit could wipe out your practice and even your personal life's savings. Here's what you need to know about this type of insurance coverage and why it is so important. 

Protection Against Malpractice Claims 

Like any other medical profession, dentistry comes with the risk of malpractice lawsuits. Any time a patient suffers a complication from a procedure, they may try to accuse you of malpractice, forcing you to cover any additional medical expenses they incur to remedy any issues. If it is determined that you are, in fact, guilty of malpractice, you could be faced with a hefty bill to compensate the patient. 

Evaluating Malpractice Claims 

While some cases of malpractice are relatively easy to identify, like an oral surgeon operating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, other cases are not as simple. The insurer must determine whether you actually committed malpractice or your patient was simply a victim of unfortunate circumstances. As with any type of medical procedure, dental procedures are not without inherent risk, so complications after the procedure do not necessarily mean that malpractice occurred. 

Evaluating these claims often requires extensive research and study of the specifics of the situation, and the legal process involved can often be drawn out. The longer it takes to reach a decision, the higher the legal costs will be for you and your practice. Medical malpractice insurance can help to weather these costs as well, keeping your practice safe during the proceedings. 

Types of Malpractice Insurance 

In general, medical liability insurance falls into two categories: occurrence and claims-made. It is important to understand the distinction between the two to ensure you are adequately covered. Under the occurrence style, coverage is based on when the incident in question actually occurred, regardless of when the patient filed the claim. Even if you cancel your policy, any lawsuits relating to procedures during the time in which you were covered will still be covered into the future. With claims-made insurance, coverage is based on when the patient files the claim. This type is more common today. 

Cover Your Dental Practice Today 

When you are ready to give your dental practice the coverage it needs and deserves, reach out to the insurance experts at Southern Colorado Insurance. We're always happy to help!