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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Avoiding Medical Malpractice Lawsuits: Florida Dentists

Like any other medical professional, Florida dentists are very susceptible to being sued for dental malpractice by their patients. Even with the best dental care, a Florida dentist is open to lawsuit just by the nature of his practice. When a patient alleges dental malpractice from his or her dentist, he really means that the dentist has operated or failed to operate in a manner which deviates from the Standard of Care in his or her community.

Dental malpractice lawsuits are expensive, both monetarily and emotionally. Even if the case is dismissed, the Florida dentist can still spend an inordinate amount of time and money defending him or herself.

Some common causes of malpractice lawsuits against dentists include:

  • An error during a dental procedure, either by the dentist or by his or her staff
  • Failure to give all treatment options to a patient
  • Lack of informed consent by the patient
  • Product liability – using faulty equipment, products, oral devices and materials
  • Extraction of the wrong tooth
  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of oral disease such as cancer
  • Failure to follow up a procedure or abandonment of the patient
  • Failure to refer a patient to a specialist
  • Lingual nerve injury, including jaw, chin and lips

Even if the dentist takes proper precautions to avoid a lawsuit, such as communicating clearly, following up on missed or cancelled appointments, performing proper informed consent, and keeping accurate records, a dental malpractice lawsuit can still occur. These lawsuits can be expensive, time consuming, and damaging to the physical and emotional well-being of the dentist, his or her family and staff.

It is always important for a Florida dentist to purchase dental malpractice insurance. There are a number of dental malpractice insurance companies operating in Florida now. This is good, because strong competition keeps premiums down. Gracey-Backer, Inc. currently represents four of the major carriers. Each has an appetite for a different specialty and each offers its own pricing. All of them offer excellent coverage with the top dental malpractice law firms. Each covers the costs associated with a lawsuit (defense costs, court fees, settlements, and judgments.) Coming to us allows the Florida dentist to compare dental malpractice coverage before he or she purchases it, both from a cost and coverage perspective.

Barbara Gracey Backer

Barbara Gracey Backer is the Vice-President of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Professional and Personal Insurance. She may be contacted at 800-272-6055 X118 or at

Will Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates Begin to Climb?

After over a decade of declining rates for medical malpractice insurance, industry experts are saying that medical malpractice insurance rates may begin to trend upwards. This prediction is based on 2014 data from the National Practitioners Data Bank (NPDB) that shows medical malpractice insurance payouts increasing for the second year in a row.

According to an article in the June 15, 2015 Insurance Journal-National, the NPDB data released in 2014 showed an increase of 4.4 percent in medical malpractice payouts, bringing the national total to $3.9 billion.

New York was the highest in terms of per capita payout, followed by New Jersey. In Florida, the total payout for medical malpractice insurance claim payouts was $236,204,600, up 18.94% from 2013.

When payment amounts were analyzed by malpractice allegation, the leader was Failure to Diagnose (33%), followed by Surgery (24%) and Treatment (19%).

The article predicts that, if this trend of rising medical malpractice insurance payouts continues, the national payout for medical malpractice insurance claims could top $4 billion in 2015. This trend could well cause medical malpractice insurance companies to reevaluate rates to determine if they are still valid in light of this trend upwards.

John Gracey Backer, CPA

John Gracey Backer, CPA, is the Treasurer of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Malpractice, Professional and Personal Insurance for the Healthcare Provider. He can be contacted at 800-272-6055 ext 128, or at

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