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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hygienist in jeopardy of getting sued over wrong tooth getting pulled-are you protected?

 A few years ago a message board that I follow had a post by a hygienist who filled out a referral slip incorrectly, the oral surgeon pulled out the wrong tooth. The hygienist was in jeopardy of getting sued.

Another possible scenario involves a dentist suing his hygienist for "fraud and grand larceny"

We are human and chances are at some point in your career you will make a mistake.

       Should you carry liability insurance?                                     YES!!Protect yourself.

Most dental hygienists work in a private setting.  This means that the dentist who employees you is held liable for the acts of the employee while the employee is carrying out the business of the employer. A personal policy is a good idea for the following reasons:

Three reasons to protect yourself
1) Protect your assets
2)The employers policy in most cases only represents the hygienist if the dentist is
     also named in the suit
3) Each policy has limits for coverage

Two types of liability insurance:
  • The occurrence policy-protects the professional against claims occurring during the policy period, regardless of when the claim is presented to the insurance company. In addition, this protection exists whether or not the policy is still in force at the time the claim is made. With this policy, there is no need to purchase additional insurance coverage to cover past acts when changing insurance carriers, retiring from practice
  • The claims made policy. This policy covers the dental hygienist against malpractice allegations that arise from dental treatments rendered and reported while the policy is in force.

Recommended liability insurance companies
Additional Information

- Liability insurance for dental hygienists is relatively inexpensive- under $100 a year, the cost of the insurance is very low because hygienists are rarely sued, usually the suit will be against the dentist
-Some states require that you have liability insurance to carry a license- check with your state board to see if it is a requirement

Need more information on liability insurance: click here

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