Understanding Claims Defense

We hope you never experience a lawsuit. Unfortunately, a typical dentist in the United States is sued on average once in his or her career (more or less depending on location). With this inevitability in mind, it is important to remember that claims defense is really the primary service you are purchasing with your premium dollars. You are placing confidence in the insurer's promise to defend you and pay for damages should you be sued in the future. After all, settlement of a claim involves more than money; it can have a long-term negative effect on your reputation, your license and your practice.

Evaluating the Claims Process

Plaintiff attorneys who take malpractice cases usually specialize in liability litigation. Typically, they are masters of the malpractice domain who understand the venue, the individual judges, specific state laws as well as clinical dentistry issues and how they apply to the laws of your specific state. Therefore, it is extremely important to select an insurance company that has a similar, or better yet, superior level of malpractice expertise.

Medical Protective's claims team specializes in malpractice and brings an average of over twenty years of experience per claims manager to your case. Their specialization and experience is proven; in the past ten years, 95% of dental trials have been won. They utilize a nationwide team of attorneys and expert witnesses to orchestrate the best defense possible.

Risk Management

The strongest malpractice insurance coverage will not only defend you in a lawsuit but will also arm you with tools to help prevent a lawsuit in the first place. Risk management is a loss prevention process that helps dentists prevent potential malpractice liability by enhancing the quality of patient care, safety and satisfaction.

While most malpractice insurers provide risk management, the quality and expertise of these programs can vary considerably. Common risk mitigation resources may include continuing education courses, online programs, publications and practice assessment tools. However, a quality risk management program should be comprehensive, focus on areas of specialty, and support the core philosophy of the company.

Newly graduated dentists often underestimate the importance of risk management services when selecting their malpractice insurance. It's only when they have a patient in the chair with a serious concern that they realize how valuable this service can be. Each year, our Clinical Risk Management Team answers thousands of calls from insured dentists. Some of the top category concerns include: dealing with difficult or non-compliant patients, record retention issues, and how to handle and disclose an adverse event. Click to learn about specific situations where an experienced consultant is only a phone call away.

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