AAWD and PPP are teaming up to commemorate Women’s History Month! While some risks are worth taking, others are not. During the month, we will highlight women known for taking distinct risks to lead the way in the field of dentistry, while also pointing out some risks that dentists shouldn’t take in their dental office.
A Risk Worth Taking!
Dr. Leonie Von Meusebach-Zesch (1882-1944) earned her dental degree from the San Francisco College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1902. She started out a dentist’s assistant, but Von Zesch later traveled by dog sled to treat Alaskan earthquake refugees. She also worked at a women’s prison, training inmates to work as her assistants.
While some risks are worth taking, others are not…
Vicarious liability is a crucial coverage to have on a professional liability policy, especially if you are an employer dentist. The employer dentist is responsible for the actions of all of their staff, including employee dentists. Therefore, if an employee dentist causes injury to a patient, the employer dentist can be named in that claim as well.
The PPP has encountered vicarious liability claims where the employee dentist was at fault, but had lower policy limits than the employer dentist. In one specific claim, the employee dentist’s malpractice carrier took a “no pay” position and pointed to the employer’s policy limits to respond to the claim. Even though the employer dentist never treated the patient, his policy had to pay out a settlement of over $2,000,000 and almost $120,000 in legal expenses.
Dentists insured with the PPP are offered vicarious liability and their defense expenses are paid in addition to the limit. This is a feature that not all professional liability policies have. If a PPP dentist has a claim, the legal costs and fees to defend the claim are not taken out of the dentist’s policy limits.
For more information on PPP, please visit https://www.protectorplan.com/.