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

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 (561) 404-5746 or at barbara@gbifl.com.

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