Workers’ Compensation for Dentists: 6 Things You Should Know

Posted by on Oct 25, 2023 12:22:00 PM

As the owner of a dental practice, knowing more about workers’ compensation may help you to create a safer work environment with policies and practices that help prevent accidents from occurring.

When an employee is affected by an accident or illness at work or during their normal job duties, workers’ compensation insurance is intended to pay for related medical expenses.

Workers' compensation for dentists and your role in it may be important to understand in order to protect yourself, your employees, and your practice. Explore these six things you may not already know about this insurance policy type.

Female dentist answers the phone at the front desk of her dental practice

Facts & Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

1. The Focus of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Is Typically Medical Care

Benefits for injured employees typically focus on paying for medical care and minimizing lost time through immediate, quality medical attention. For some workers and injuries or illnesses, a case manager may be assigned to oversee and coordinate treatment and transition back into the workplace.

Depending on the circumstances and how long an employee is out of work, benefits may also include compensation for lost wages, typically a predetermined percentage of the employee’s regular wages.


2. Many States Require and Regulate Workers’ Compensation

Before you hire even one employee, consider researching both state and federal requirements to understand the different types of insurance policies you may be required to carry as an employer. Coverage requirements may vary depending on the size of the business, the number of employees, the industry, or the jobs of employees.

Insurance laws may also vary by state. Although the foundation of workers’ compensation insurance may be very similar nationwide, policies may work differently in practice, depending on location.

Your insurance provider or advisor may also be able to help you understand the regulations, especially if they’re familiar with the dental industry.


3. Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage May Extend to All Work-Related Injuries

Any injuries or illnesses caused or aggravated by an employee’s job duties may make them eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, even if that injury or illness was a recurring problem, such as carpal tunnel.

Workers’ compensation may also apply to injuries and illnesses regardless of whose fault they were, even if the employee’s own negligence caused the incident. Common but potentially preventable on-the-job injuries/illnesses within a dental practice include back problems and carpal tunnel caused by repetitive motion.

In a similar fashion, the location of the injury or illness may also not factor into benefit eligibility so long as the underlying cause was work-related. Injuries or illnesses sustained during company-sponsored events, work-related training or conferences, or even traffic accidents during job-related errands may all be considered work-related.

Understanding workers compensation at dental practice

4. Long-Term Coverage or Job Training May Apply to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

When an injury or illness permanently affects an employee’s ability to return to work or perform their regular job duties, workers’ compensation insurance may help.

Long-term workers’ compensation benefits, also known as permanent disability benefits or impairment income, may pay a predetermined percentage of an employee’s income for an amount of time set by state regulations and the severity or “rating” of the injury or illness.

For employees who are medically cleared to return to work but are still impaired and unable to perform their previous job duties, workers’ compensation may provide job training and/or partial disability benefits.


5. Prevention & Safety May Be Part of Workers’ Compensation Programs

Some workers’ compensation insurance policies may include resources, materials, or training as part of an occupational health and safety program. By helping you, the employer, to promote a safe work environment and practices, insurance companies may also benefit from fewer injured workers leading to fewer claims.

Commonly offered training and preventative measures for dental practices may include reviewing OSHA best practices, maximizing the safety of your clinic environment, ergonomics, and prevention of job-related musculoskeletal disorders or repetitive stress injuries.

Workers Compensation at Dentist

6. Documenting Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses  Is Your Responsibility

Be prepared to collect the right information as soon as the incident occurs by having an incident report outlining the relevant information for a workers’ compensation claim readily available. Common information requested by the worker’s compensation insurance policy provider may include the time and date of the incident, an explanation of what happened, witness accounts, the location of the accident or injury, and the medical care received.


Understanding Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Dentists

A workers’ compensation insurance policy may not only be required by law in your state, but it may also protect your practice against lawsuits and provide important support for your employees. Like other insurance products, knowing the details of your policy may help you to better understand your coverage and identify potential gaps before you’re really at risk.

A trusted insurance advisor may be able to help you navigate the insurance requirements of starting or buying a practice, as well as recommended policies for your specific situation.

For more information, go to Workers' Compensation for Dental Practices.



About Treloar & Heisel

Treloar & Heisel, an EPIC Company, is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement with a comprehensive suite of financial services, custom-tailored advice, and a strong national network focused on delivering the highest level of service. 

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