Frequently Asked Questions
Whom does PLP assist?
PLP assistance is available to members and former members who were registered with the RCDSO at the time of the events giving rise to a claim. Dental partnerships and health profession corporations with valid certificates of authorization are also protected, as are employees of anyone eligible for assistance who are not regulated health professionals.
What happens if I retire or leave Ontario?
PLP assistance extends to former members, so long as they were registered with the RCDSO at the time of the events giving rise to a claim.
What does the protection include?
Anyone eligible for protection is entitled to be indemnified for up to $2,000,000 in damages and legal costs owing due to an error, omission or negligent act in performing professional services in Ontario, as well as for legal expenses in defending a civil suit for dental negligence.
What is excluded?
PLP assistance does not extend to:
- civil actions unrelated to the practise of dentistry (e.g. commercial disputes);
- criminal proceedings;
- regulatory matters;
- human rights complaints;
- proceedings arising out of dental services rendered outside of Ontario;
- punitive, aggravated or exemplary damages.
What is the limit of liability?
The per occurrence limit is $2,000,000 with no annual limit. Members can purchase up to $23,000,000 in excess coverage. For more information about excess coverage, please contact PLP.
Can I purchase more protection?
Excess coverage of up to $23,000,000 is available for total protection of $25,000,000. For more information about excess coverage, contact PLP.
What is the premium?
There is no premium. The cost of PLP protection is included in members’ annual RCDSO registration fees.
Will my fees increase if I have multiple claims against me?
Is there a deductible?
Yes. The deductible is $2,000 for the first occurrence and increases to $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000 for additional claims within a seven year period. The PLP Committee has discretion to reduce or waive a member’s deductible in certain circumstances. For more information on deductibles and the criteria and process for requesting a reduction or waiver, see the February/March 2013 issue of Dispatch.
Is the deductible triggered when I call PLP?
No. A deductible is only triggered when PLP incurs expenses on a member’s behalf, e.g. when a case is settled or a lawyer or an expert is retained.
When should I contact PLP?
You must report any situation to PLP that may give rise to a patient claim, i.e. a demand for money or services. In other words, even if a patient is not currently making threats or demands, if you suspect that could happen in the future, you must notify PLP. Such "precautionary reports" usually require no immediate action but are necessary to protect your interests if the situation escalates.
Should I contact PLP if I want to refund money to a patient?
Yes. Even if the patient is not upset or angry, any member contemplating a refund of fees should contact PLP to receive guidance on the documentation required to protect the member’s interests. Failure to do so may jeopardize the member’s protection if the patient later demands more money from or commences a legal action against the member.
What happens after I call PLP?
In some cases, the report will be recorded and the member will receive a form letter advising of the file number and to contact PLP in case of further developments. If the matter requires immediate action, an Advisor will contact the member to obtain further information and provide assistance and advice. Where appropriate, external counsel will be assigned, in which case that person will become the member’s principal contact. Members have an obligation to cooperate fully with PLP and defence counsel retained on their behalf.
Can I choose my own lawyer?
You may, of course, hire a lawyer to assist you at your own expense, but if you wish to avail yourself of PLP assistance, PLP will retain and instruct counsel on your behalf. PLP works only with reputable law firms specializing in professional liability defence.
Is the information I provide to PLP kept confidential?
The information provided to PLP by a member is completely confidential and is only provided to others who are legally entitled to receive it or with a member’s consent. In particular, unless authorized by a member to do so, PLP staff are strictly prohibited from sharing file information with anyone else in the RCDSO. Even the fact that a member has contacted PLP is kept in the utmost confidence.
Should I apologize to a patient?
There is no reason not to express sympathy for a patient’s suffering or regret that treatment did not turn out as expected, and any such statements cannot be used to establish negligence. However, members should be careful not to use language that might be interpreted as an admission of wrongdoing. For more information on apologies, see the August/September 2013 issue of Dispatch.