Disability Benefits for Dentists / Dental Assistants
Statistics show that many areas around the country have a very high patient to dentist ratio, meaning each dentist may have as many as a thousand active patients under their care at any given time.
Similar conditions exist in cities all across the United States. Given the high number of patients that each dentist may have, it is no surprise that dental professionals spend long hours in the office caring for patients.
As a dentist or other dental professional who spends long hours caring for patients, you are likely no stranger to back pain, neck pain, and problems with your hands. Even though you may have your own ways of dealing with the pain and suffering you experience due to your profession, there may come a time when your injuries become too much to continue to endure. Having the right disability insurance policy in place is critical when it comes to protecting your financial future should you become injured at your dental practice, whether through repetitive work or some other cause.
It can be really difficult to deal with the impacts that come with sustaining an injury and then not receiving the benefits and compensation that you need and deserve. It is even worse when you put in the work to file a disability insurance claim, only for your insurance company to deny you the coverage that you are rightfully entitled to. That’s why it is crucial to have our national dental disability insurance lawyers who know how to effectively fight to protect rights and interests.
Our dentist disability insurance lawyers at Edelstein Martin & Nelson have decades of experience handling disability claims for clients who have been injured on the job or suffered from debilitating health conditions that prevented them from working. If you need assistance with a long-term disability claim, or any other kind of disability matter relating to dental professionals, we want to help.
Why Dentists Need Disability Benefits and Insurance Coverage
If you have chosen a career in the field of dentistry, it is critically important that you are protected in the event of suffering an injury on the job. Disability insurance can provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that if something happens to you, then you are covered and will not have to face financial fallout. There are a few reasons why it is important for anybody working in the dental industry to have a reliable disability insurance policy in place.
First, it should be noted that people who work in the dental industry generally are paid well. Reports provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the median salary of dentists is approximately $159,000. In some areas, dentists can earn over $250,000. When it comes to dental surgeons and specialists, they often make even more. Trying to come up with a comparable source of income should you be injured on the job can be incredibly difficult.
Second, dental professionals often have significantly more financial obligations than many other workers. Reports provided by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) indicate that many people who graduate from dental school have more than $290,000 in student loans and other debt. Unfortunately, trying to cover student loan payments while being unable to work is pretty much impossible.
For this reason, it is important that you have disability insurance coverage in place. This type of policy can provide you with income while you are recovering from your injuries and unable to work. If you are left permanently disabled, you may be able to recover long-term disability insurance benefits or even Social Security Disability insurance benefits. Reaching out to our dentist disability insurance lawyers as soon as possible can help you better understand what your legal options are.
Common Injuries that Dental Professionals Experience
Although most people don’t realize it or give it much thought, a profession in dentistry is actually quite physically demanding and requires a high level of accuracy and keen attention to detail. According to statistics, the dental profession is considered to be one of the more dangerous jobs in America. This is due to the fact that they are often predisposed to various hazards while on the job.
These hazards can include exposure to infections, such as HIV or hepatitis. Dentists and other dental workers also work with radiation, dangerous materials, and significant noise levels. As a result, dentists are at risk of suffering serious injuries that ultimately impact their ability to work.
Unfortunately, there are many instances where dentists around the nation are forced out of work as a result of the injuries they suffer.
Some common types of disabling injuries that dentists may experience include:
- Back injuries: Dentists are often required to spend long hours leaning over patients. This can strain their back muscles and severely strain the spinal cord. Unfortunately, back injuries can lead to chronic pain, herniated discs, and other complications that can be incredibly disabling.
- Neck injuries: Just like back injuries, dentists and other dental professionals often experience significant neck pain and stiffness from prolonged bending and twisting while working on patients.
- Hand and wrist injuries: It is undeniable that dentists have to use their hands and wrists extensively. As a result, this puts them at risk of developing repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Eye injuries: Given the job’s very nature, dentists must utilize bright lights every day while assisting patients. Unfortunately, the bright lights used during dental procedures can cause eye strain, fatigue, and other eye injuries. These serious injuries can force dentists and dental assistants out of work for a significant period.
- Hearing loss: Dental offices tend to be incredibly loud due to the sound of drills and other dental tools used for repairing cavities and cleaning teeth. Unfortunately, the noise from dental equipment can cause hearing loss over time. This can greatly impact a dentist’s ability to continue working.
- Being infected by a patient: Dental professionals do utilize gloves, masks and other safety equipment while providing care to patients. However, no amount of safety equipment is fail-proof. There are instances where dental professionals become infected with diseases while treating patients.
Any type of serious injury or ailment could render a person unable to work. In severe cases, dentists and dental professionals may be forced out of work indefinitely. When dentists are injured while working, they may be able to seek long-term disability benefits by filing a disability claim. For this reason, it is crucial that they have a well-rounded dental disability insurance policy in place to protect them during their time of need.
Individuals Entitled to Dental Disability Benefits
Dental disability insurance can cover a range of dental professionals. Some of the dental professionals that our team at Edelstein Martin & Nelson has helped with disability insurance claims after being injured include:
- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
- General dentists
- Dental hygienists
- Pediatric dentists
No matter what type of dental professional you are, it is important that you are able to access the short-term or long-term disability benefits that you have when you need them. For this reason, our dedicated disability insurance lawyers will help with your claim so your legal rights are protected throughout the claim filing process.
“Own Occupation” Policies in the Dental Profession
When it comes to filing a disability claim after suffering an injury or dealing with a disabling condition, one common issue that dental professionals may encounter is the distinction between “own occupation” and “any occupation” disability insurance policies.
An “own occupation” policy provides benefits if the policyholder is unable to perform the duties of their own occupation, even if they are able to work in a different field. Conversely, a claim that is considered an “any occupation” policy only provides benefits if the policyholder is unable to perform the duties of any occupation, regardless of the job that they held prior to their accident or to becoming disabled.
When it comes to policies for dental professionals, an “own occupation” policy is clearly the preferred option. This is due to the fact that it provides greater protection in the event of a disability. However, even with an “own occupation” policy, insurance companies may attempt to reduce benefits if the policyholder is able to work in a different capacity. This is where the skill and knowledge of a dental disability insurance attorney can be invaluable.
Reviewing the terms of the policy that you currently have is critical, since not all dental disability policies are created equally. You will need to recognize whether your insurance policy has an “own occupation” or an “any occupation” clause, which could impact your ability to receive benefits. If an insurance company tries to deny your disability claim based on the “any occupation” provision, our dedicated legal team will be here to fight for your legal rights and to help you get the disability benefits to which you are entitled.
At Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP, we have extensive experience representing dental professionals in disability insurance claims, and we are well aware of the tactics that disability insurance companies rely on in order to deny dental professionals the coverage and benefits that they rightfully deserve. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you are not taken advantage of by these self-serving entities. Contact our law firm today to see how we can help you.
When Should I File a Disability Insurance Claim?
Any dental professional that is considering filing a disability insurance claim is faced with a difficult decision. They may wonder if it is really time to look out for their own health and well-being or if they should try to continue to work through the pain that they continue to experience.
On the one hand, suffering from disabling conditions or impairment may be so severe that it could jeopardize a dental professional’s ability to care for their patients. They may already be working fewer hours, seeking the help of others, utilizing accommodations, or passing tasks on to other people. They may also fear that when the pain becomes worse, their overall health will be at risk.
Unfortunately, the process of pursuing a long-term disability claim can be incredibly overwhelming. It is also common for disability insurance companies to do everything in their power to undermine a dental professional’s credibility. They do this to justify denying a claim so they can save money.
Dental professionals often struggle when they are dealing with an injury, knowing that they may lose a source of income that their family depends on. The potential of having to deal with a long-term disability insurance denial and appeals process, as well as the financial and emotional pain and suffering, can be extremely daunting, especially when you don’t have an attorney representing you.
If you are placed in this difficult position, take the time to thoroughly consider whether you are still able to provide adequate care for your patients. If the pain makes it nearly impossible for you to perform the duties of your job, then maybe it is time that you seek compensation by pursuing a disability insurance claim. Our team at Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP has a team of dentist disability insurance lawyers ready to help you move forward with your claim.
To ensure your legal rights and your best interests are protected, we encourage you to reach out to our law firm to schedule a consultation. Our dedicated dental disability insurance lawyers will take the time to review the circumstances surrounding your case and determine the best course of action for you and your family moving forward. We will help guide you through the legal process, and stand by your side as we fight to ensure you get the disability benefits that you need and deserve.
Let Our Team Help You Get the Long-Term Disability Benefits That You Are Entitled To
Protecting yourself with dental disability insurance is essential, and having an experienced lawyer on your side can make all the difference in ensuring that you are properly covered. The legal team at Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP has a successful track record of working with dental professionals to secure their rights to proper coverage. If you aren’t sure where to begin when seeking proper dental disability insurance, we can help.
Protecting yourself from financial hardship after suffering an injury or becoming ill is something worth looking into. We will do everything in our power to make sure that your disability insurance policy is up-to-date and correctly tailored to your individual needs. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today so we can provide the protection you need.