As a dentist owner of a practice, your top priority is to provide quality dental care to your patients. However, despite your best efforts, malpractice lawsuits can still occur. Therefore, it is crucial to have professional liability insurance to protect yourself, your practice, and your employees from the financial burden of a lawsuit.
In this blog post, we will discuss the types of coverage recommended for dentist owners.
1. Coverage for Direct Claims of Malpractice Against the Owner
The first type of coverage you should consider is coverage for direct claims of malpractice against you as the dentist owner. This coverage will help pay for any legal fees, settlements, or judgments related to such claims.
2. Coverage for the Practice Entity
The practice entity (the professional corporation or the limited liability company) should also be listed as an additional named insured in the policy. This coverage is essential because courts have held that the business entity of a practice is a separate legal entity that can be named as a separate defendant in a malpractice lawsuit. Therefore, it is essential to have coverage to protect the practice entity against any such claims.
3. Coverage for Clinical Technical Staff
As the owner of the practice, you are legally responsible for supervising the clinical technical staff to ensure that their clinical services meet the standard of care. Therefore, you need to have professional liability insurance for any claims against you for allegedly breaching this supervisory responsibility in any malpractice claim against a clinical technical employee.
4. Coverage for Associate Dentists
The same type of coverage for malpractice claims against associate dentists is also recommended. As the owner of the practice, you are responsible for the actions of your employees, and it is essential to have coverage to protect your practice from any malpractice claims against your associate dentists.
5. Look-back Coverage for Prior Years
It is essential to purchase the coverages mentioned above if you do not currently have them. Additionally, it is important to discuss with your broker about purchasing “look-back” coverage for at least the prior two years and coverage for up to 20 years for pediatric dentists for these types of coverage.
In conclusion, having professional liability insurance for your dental practice is crucial for protecting yourself, your practice, and your employees from the financial burden of a malpractice lawsuit. Ensure that you have the appropriate coverage for direct claims of malpractice against you as the owner, the practice entity, clinical technical staff, and associate dentists. By having the right coverage in place, you can focus on providing quality dental care to your patients without the worry of a potential lawsuit.