Issue: June 2017
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Dental Procedures and Oral Surgery: Extracting Risks and Liabilities

Introduction

Dental Malpractice Risks

Almost 20,000 medical malpractice payment reports and adverse action reports against dentists and oral surgeons and three thousand reports relating to dental hygienists and assistants were made over a ten-year period.

 

Injuries related to dental procedures or oral surgery can lead to litigation. Claims often involve medical malpractice or negligence, but can also involve fraud, battery, statutory violations, and other wrongful acts.

 

Attorneys, dentists, oral surgeons, insurers, employers, and other potential parties to litigation should be aware of the types of lawsuits and other liability issues that may arise in connection with injuries related to dental procedures or oral surgery. 


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed for dental malpractice? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?

Physicians:

How can liability for malpractice be avoided for an injury related to a dental procedure or oral surgery? And, what is a potential strategy the dentist or other provider can employ? 

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy be avoided by proof that the dentist or other provider was not negligent or there was no coverage for the dental injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ?

Employers:

Can an employer be subject to liability for an injury related to an employee’s teeth? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?  


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a dental health provider’s liability for malpractice or negligence for a dental injury.

Physicians:

Presented is a checklist of items a dentist must consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence involving a dental injury.

Insurers:

The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of dental negligence or malpractice.

Employers:

Use this checklist to determine if the employee’s dental injury is “work related” and occurred “in the course of the employment.” 

Expert Analysis

What Complications Can Arise in Dental Implant Procedures?

Avrum R. Goldstein, DMD, FRCD(C)

Which Dental Procedures Lead to Malpractice Claims; How To Prevent? 

J. Crystal Baxter

How Extensive Is the Opioid Abuse Problem in Dentistry?

Ray Skowronski, Jr, DDS, FADI

Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.


Reasons to Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, dentist, insurer, or employer would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.


Reasons to Go to Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, dentist, insurer, or employer would want to take the action to trial. 


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving dental malpractice?



Medical Examples

Dental Procedures and Oral Surgery

This section provides detailed medical information on common dental procedures and surgical extractions, and includes discussion of the teeth, trauma to teeth, and complications. Also discussed is the patient’s prognosis and ability to work after a dental procedure or oral surgery.  



Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on dental malpractice.


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Dental Procedures and Oral Surgery: Extracting Risks and Liabilities

Table of Contents
Introduction

Expert Analysis
   Avrum R. Goldstein, DMD, FRCD(C)
   J. Crystal Baxter
   Ray Skowronski, Jr, DDS, FADI

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy
   Attorneys
   Dentists and Dental Health Providers
   Insurers
   Employers and Risk Managers

Practice the Technique: Checklists
   Attorney Checklist
   Dentist and Dental Health Provider Checklist
   Insurer Checklist
   Employer Checklist

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Reasons to Reach Settlement

Reasons to Go to Trial

Jury Awards and Settlements

Dental Procedures and Oral Surgery

Law and Medicine Resources