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Maryland Dental Policyholders: Notice to all dental policyholders in Maryland affected by the USPS mail delivery delays.

Understanding Vicarious Liability, Affiliated Dentist Coverage & Additional Interest

Vicarious liability is the responsibility you, as the insured dentist, assume for the actions and/or omissions of your employees that take place during their employment. It is important that you do not overlook this element as it is an area from which claims often arise.

Vicarious liability is an area of liability that is frequently overlooked, yet it is also an area from which claims often arise. Let’s take a closer look at this legal responsibility that could be passed to you when you have another dentist, either an employee or contractor, in your practice.

Vicarious liability is the responsibility you, as the insured dentist, assume for the actions and/or omissions of your employees that take place during their employment.

This means that another dentist who is working with or for you must have his/her own insurance policy. Additionally, if your practice is incorporated, there is increased claims exposure to your corporate entity due to the actions of another dentist.

What You Should Know About Vicarious Liability? 

If you add a dentist to your practice or purchase a practice where the selling dentist is staying on staff, that dentist needs his/her own malpractice insurance coverage if he/she is providing professional services.

As a business owner, you have three options:

  1. If the new dentist is insured by a carrier other than yours, you should advise him/her to request his/her carrier add the name of your corporation to his/her policy. Your corporation will then become an “additional interest” on his/her policy. That way, if he/she is named in a claim or suit, and your corporation is named as being vicariously liable, his/her policy will provide coverage for him/her and your corporation.
    1. It is not unusual for the wording of this type of endorsement to limit coverage to the services provided by his/her insured. 
    2. You should maintain a copy of this coverage in your credentialing records.
  2. Request that vicarious liability coverage for the affiliated dentist be added to your corporate policy. 
    1. This is similar to the additional interest coverage he/she would receive from his/her carrier.
    2. You will receive an endorsement confirming this coverage.
  3. Have the dentist move his/her coverage to your carrier, at which time coverage will be added for him/her as an affiliated dentist to your corporation.  
    1. With this option, he/she will continue to have his/her own policy and limits, and your corporation will have vicarious liability for his/her actions.
    2. Both of you will be insured by the same carrier eliminating the potential for conflict between carriers in the event of a claim or suit.

Be aware that some guidelines and additional costs may apply in each of these situations. However, with insurance, it is best to be proactive rather than reactive. Maintain a dialogue with your agent so when changes occur in your practice, the need for new or additional coverage is explored as soon as possible. 

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