What to Expect From a Dental Malpractice Claim

October 12, 2023

Reading time: 3 minutes

Dental Malpractice form, and gavel on a surface.

In this article, dentists will be introduced to the malpractice claims process. The average dentist is sued at least once in their career, so learning about the process ahead of time can help you be better prepared. This article explains what happens when a claim is brought against a dental provider.

Key Concepts

  • What is a dental malpractice claim
  • The six steps of the claims process
  • How to prepare for the claims process

Malpractice claims can be overwhelming and confusing. However, learning about the process ahead of time can help you better prepare to manage a claim. Let’s break down the malpractice claims process so you can practice with greater confidence.

The Dental Malpractice Claims Process

A malpractice claim arises from an accusation that some action of the dentist fell below the standard of care and is brought by a patient, a patient’s family, or a patient’s attorney. Claims are usually handled between the two parties through the dentist’s malpractice insurance carrier and the complainant.

Choosing a trustworthy malpractice insurance carrier with a strong claims team is one way you can prepare for any future claims made against you. It’s also helpful to know what to expect, so you understand the steps to take if faced with a claim. The process described below is what you can expect to occur when facing a malpractice claim.

  1. Reporting a Claim to Your Dental Malpractice Insurance Carrier
    • Notice of a claim can come from either a patient or their attorney. In both scenarios, you should report it to your malpractice insurance carrier immediately.
  2. Delegation of a Claim
    • Once a claim is reported, it will be assigned to a dental claims consultant. Depending on the particularity of a claim, an attorney may be assigned to assist with the claim.
  3. Initial Contact with Claims Consultant
    • You will be contacted by a claims consultant who will go over the case with you, gather more information, and verify that your policy covers the claim.
  4. Preparation for the Claims Process
    • In preparation for your involvement in the claims process, there are some things you can do.
      • Gather all your documents/records about the treatment of the patient. Never alter your records – that includes adding, removing, or changing any information.
      • Avoid speaking about the claim to others. Only speak to representatives from your insurance carrier and any involved attorneys about it.
      • If you or your dental practice receives any further communication from the patient, let your insurance carrier know immediately. Advise the patient that communications need to go through your malpractice insurance carrier.
  5. Investigation and Evaluation
    • Your claims consultant will speak to the patient or their attorney and will get all the relevant information to evaluate the claim, including:
      • Medical and dental records from prior and subsequent medical or dental providers
      • Any information they have to support their claim against you
  6. Discussion of Available Options Going Forward
    • After the claims consultant has received all the patient’s records in support of the claim, they will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the claim being made against you. They will discuss the claim with you and will help you decide how to proceed from there.

In the event of a claim, MedPro Group will be with you every step of the way. Our industry-leading claims team has a trial win rate of 95% and closes 80% of claims without payment. Is your carrier prepared to protect your good name? It’s important to know that your insurance carrier will be there for you when it matters most. By understanding the claims process, you can feel a bit more prepared should you ever be faced with a claim.

All data is derived from MedPro Group records and calculations; claims data range is 2013-2022 unless otherwise indicated. MedPro Group is the marketing name used to refer to the insurance operations of The Medical Protective Company, Princeton Insurance Company, PLICO, Inc. and MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group. All insurance products are administered by MedPro Group and underwritten by these and other Berkshire Hathaway affiliates, including National Fire & Marine Insurance Company. Product availability is based upon business and/or regulatory approval and may differ among companies. © MedPro Group Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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This document does not constitute legal or medical advice and should not be construed as rules or establishing a standard of care. Because the facts applicable to your situation may vary, or the laws applicable in your jurisdiction may differ, please contact your attorney or other professional advisors if you have any questions related to your legal or medical obligations or rights, state or federal laws, contract interpretation, or other legal questions.

MedPro Group is the marketing name used to refer to the insurance operations of The Medical Protective Company, Princeton Insurance Company, PLICO, Inc. and MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group. All insurance products are underwritten and administered by these and other Berkshire Hathaway affiliates, including National Fire & Marine Insurance Company. Product availability is based upon business and/or regulatory approval and/or may differ among companies.

© MedPro Group Inc. All rights reserved.