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Liability Waivers in Dental Practices: Navigating Legal Waters for Patients

If you own a dental practice, asking patients to sign legal waivers is crucial to protecting your business and personal assets. However, navigating the legal waters for patient liability waivers can be challenging. Mahan Law—Dental Attorneys can help you draft liability waivers that comply with local laws. We can also work with you to help you adopt best practices to limit your legal risks.

What Should Be Included in a Dental Patient Liability Waiver?

Most dental practices will ask patients to complete forms regarding their medical and dental history. They may ask patients to sign standard medical liability waivers. These waivers state that the patient will waive their rights to hold the dental practice or individual dentist liable for any injuries they experience due to the procedure. 

Most patients will sign these documents without reading the text. Working with an attorney to draft your unique waiver forms can help you protect yourself. For example, many waiver forms allow the dentist or dental practice to take photos and videos of the procedure. They may ask the patient to take before and after photos, which can help the dentist prove that they were not negligent. Most dental waivers should include the following language:

  • I understand the risks and potential complications of the dental procedure
  • Risks of the procedure include stroke, heart attack, brain injuries, or death
  • The dentist has not made a representation regarding the success of the procedure
  •  I completely release  the dentist and dental practice from liability resulting from the procedure
  • The consent, waiver, and release shall be binding on the patient
  • Patient satisfaction after the procedure cannot be guaranteed 

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits and Dental Liability Waivers

Legal waivers for dental patients don’t always protect dental practices from medical malpractice liability. Generally, patients have the right to sue for damages in medical malpractice lawsuits even if they signed a waiver before the procedure. Although the liability waiver may prevent a patient from pursuing legal claims for certain injuries, it may not protect the dental practice from medical negligence.

At Mahan Law, our dental attorneys have extensive experience drafting waivers more likely to comply with state law. When we draft liability waivers, we ensure they aren’t overly broad. When waivers are too broad, stating that patients cannot pursue claims for any type of loss or injury, they are more likely to be considered unenforceable by civil courts. As a dental practice, if you use boilerplate forms that you can find for free online, you may save money in the short term. However, using boilerplate forms could cost your dental practice significant damages. 

Boilerplate forms are not tailored to your state’s unique laws regarding medical malpractice. When you work with an attorney, your attorney can ensure the form reflects applicable laws and protects your unique interests as a dental practice owner. When waivers are not well-drafted, courts may strike them down as unenforceable for the following reasons:

  • The patient signed under duress
  • The patient lacked the capacity
  • The contract is unconscionable
  • The contract is illegal under the state’s public policy
  • Impossibility

Contact an Experienced Dental Attorney Today

Facing a medical malpractice lawsuit could result in significant financial hardship for you and your dental practice. Working with an attorney to overcome challenges with liability waivers in Dental practices will help you protect your rights and financial interests. Contact Mahan Law – Dental Attorney to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about how we can help your dental practice.