Claims | Dental Professional Liability Insurance | Professional Protector Plan for Dentists

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A Legal Perspective on Claims Outcomes

CNA HealthPro claims specialists are frequently asked questions about malpractice claims outcomes. Usually, these questions arise after a dentist has heard through the grapevine that a case has been resolved, either by settlement or verdict, at what seems an unreasonable cost. They are asked why CNA HealthPro settled such a case, or why it went to trial, or why we agreed to pay such a sum for a particular injury. 
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Dental Malpractice at the End of the Century

“As long as we have human error, we will have malpractice.”
— William Otis Morris
While this statement may be true in some instances, it would be wrong to imply that all human error has been, or presently is, considered malpractice. Malpractice, whether applicable to dentists or other healthcare providers, primarily revolves around the issue of reasonableness. This includes both the information provided to the patient making a treatment decision, and the appropriateness and technical proficiency of the procedure ultimately performed. 
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The Basics of Claim Assessment and Valuation

The outcome of any malpractice allegation is affected by a variety of factors, both clinical and nonclinical. The claim specialist is responsible for assessing and managing these factors to effect the most desirable claim outcome for the dentist whose professional services have become the subject of a claim. 
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Why are Malpractice Claims Alleged?

Dentists and other health care providers against whom malpractice has been alleged can’t help but ask themselves – why? Why did this patient think I did something wrong? Why did this patient turn on me? Why didn’t the patient pay his bill on time? Why doesn’t the patient remember my instructions? The list could go on forever. 
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FAQ’s – Deposition Attendance

Q. I’m involved in a malpractice lawsuit and am now in the deposition phase. Am I required to attend all the deposition sessions? My practice is busy and I’d like to keep time away to a minimum.
A. While you are not required to attend all depositions, you have the legal right to do so – and it’s a good idea. While depositions can be time-consuming, we strongly recommend attending at least the plaintiff’s and expert witness sessions. 
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FAQ’s – Donated Services

Q. If I treat a patient palliatively as a humanitarian gesture and don’t charge a fee for the service, does that limit my obligation and/or my potential liability?
A. Regardless of how much or how little dental care you provide for a patient, you always have the duty to practice at or above the standard of care. It doesn’t matter if it’s palliative care, definitive care, free care or just an examination. Whatever you do must meet or exceed the standard of care at all times. This includes free dentistry you provide to friends, relatives or indigent patients. The fact that you provided free care does not alter or waive your professional duty. 
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