Lawyers for Dentists:
Who Are They? What Do They Do?

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What Do Lawyers For Dentists Do?

Lawyers for dentists help dental professionals protect their practices. Not only do lawyers for dentists help you manage compliance, but they also handle disputes and litigation issues with associates, patients, and shareholders. Every practice should have a dental law attorney they can trust when legal questions arise.

Dental Transactions Explained

Dentists engage in several types of dental transactions. Not all transactions apply to every practice. Lawyers for dentists are uniquely poised to help you understand the law and how to avoid potential future problems.

Here are a few dental transactions that your practice may face over time:

Hiring Associate Dentists

Hiring associate dentists is an excellent way to hire professionals while helping them build their skills and experience. The terms and conditions surrounding employment are essential to the position’s success. Ensure that you have a dental associate contract in place to manage the relationship.

Onboarding Dental Vendors

Dental vendors are the lifeblood of any practice. From supplies to equipment, dental vendors keep your practice safe and functioning. Keep your relationships successful with the formal contracts that outline all parties’ rights and obligations throughout the relationship’s duration.

Here is an article on things to know about an equipment lease .

Associate Practice Buy-In

The vast majority of new dentists dream of buying a practice, or becoming a partial owner of one, but don’t have the immediate resources or training to navigate the process confidently. An associate practice buy-in is an excellent way to ease the transition. Dental practice owners can take on new associates predicated by the idea that they eventually partake in ownership.

Learn more about dental practice buy-ins by checking out this article .

Buyout a Dental Practice

The buyout of a dental practice is a pretty complicated transaction. They generally involve several negotiation passes before reaching a final agreement. Ensure that you capture the main objectives of the buyout with a buy-sell agreement or asset purchase agreement .

Lease a Commercial Dental Office

Leasing a commercial dental office provides more flexibility than raising the capital to purchase one. However, it’s critical that you establish the terms and conditions with your landlord, owner, or property manager so that you can reasonably guarantee continuity of service to your clients.

Here is an article about what to know about an office space lease .

Common Contracts in Dental Practices

Dentists sign numerous contracts when running a dental practice. Here are the following contracts your practice should have in place as applicable:

Dental Employment Contract

Employment contracts are legally binding documents between your office and a dental professional you’re hiring. They set the terms and expectations from both sides of the agreement.

The dental employment agreement must include the following details:

  • Employee obligations
  • Salary and overtime pay
  • Benefits packages
  • Expected hours and shifts
  • Professional liabilities

It’s common to present your terms to the employee and engage in negotiations beforehand.

Dental Partnership Agreement

Partnership agreements finalize the terms between you and your partners. Doing so will support a more successful partnership and dental practice.

A dental partnership agreement must address the following:

  • Profit-sharing
  • Liability limitations
  • Warranties
  • Managerial obligations
  • Contributions
  • Ownership percentages

Write your dental partnership agreement with your practice objectives in mind.

Associate Buy-In Agreement

Associate buy-in agreements provide the terms of hiring a new dentist with the intent to sell them the dental practice, wholly or partially, in the future.

An associate buy-in agreement should include:

  • Practice valuation
  • Associate obligations
  • Contract length
  • Events that trigger ownership
  • Buy-in price

Work with lawyers for dentists to help you understand which terms are fair and how to present them in contract format.

Practice Purchase Agreement

Practice purchase agreements settle the conditions when buying a dental practice from someone else.

A practice purchase agreement should include:

  • Purchase price
  • Assumption of liabilities
  • Non-compete agreements
  • Purchase schedules
  • Tax allocation schedules

Carefully consider the terms of the practice purchase agreement presented to you.

Here’s an article about dental office buy-sell agreements you should read.

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Shareholder Agreement

Shareholder agreements enforce the terms surrounding shareholders and investors. They also mitigate disputes before they arise.

Terms to include in a shareholder agreement include:

  • Buying and selling rights
  • What happens after disability or death
  • Compensation
  • Financing terms
  • Rights and obligations

Details matter when it comes to a shareholder agreement. A lawyer for dentists will help you draft or negotiate the terms.

Asset Purchase Agreement

Asset purchase agreements are used when selling equipment and devices in a straight buyout. You should have an asset list, whether you are buying or selling.

Your asset purchase agreement list may include:

  • Dental equipment
  • Office equipment
  • IT equipment and devices
  • Landscaping equipment
  • Software and applications

An asset purchase agreement covers the terms surrounding the equipment’s sale and what limitations or liabilities that apply.

Commercial Real Estate Leases

Commercial real estate leases protect your rights when renting a dental office. They are also less costly than purchasing a building.

A commercial real estate lease should include:

  • Lease price
  • Lease payment frequency
  • Deposit amounts
  • Management contact information
  • Length of lease

If you’re considering a rent-to-own commercial lease, negotiate the long-term conditions with a lawyer for dentists to ensure that the transaction is fair.

Equipment Leases

Equipment leases establish the terms and conditions surrounding dental and office equipment rentals. It’s cheaper to lease commercial equipment, such as suction units and copier machines.

Every equipment lease agreement should include:

  • Pricing
  • Payment terms
  • Maintenance terms
  • Upgrade terms
  • Available support services

Business Associate Agreement

Business associate agreements are used to meet healthcare law requirements. A business associate provides services to your practice or on your behalf.

Your business associate agreement should address:

  • Obligations and activities
  • Permitted uses and disclosures
  • Provisions for covered entities
  • Permissible requests
  • Termination terms

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Liability Waivers

Liability waivers protect dentists from frivolous malpractice claims. A liability waiver ensures that the patient can’t sue your practice in the event of injury or death. However, these terms don’t protect dentists from proven malpractice claims filed by former patients.

Insurance Contracts

An insurance contract should include the following elements:

  • Indemnification
  • Recoupment
  • Renewal terms
  • Compliance
  • Conflict of interest terms

Patient Consent Forms

Patient consent forms authorize you to treat the patient. They also inform the patient of potential complications and hazards associated with the procedure.

A patient consent form should include:

  • Patient and dental practice names
  • Consent statement
  • Risk acknowledgment
  • Signature lines
  • Datelines

These forms are fundamental when it comes to avoiding a medical malpractice claim. Requiring a patient to initial each section of the document makes it more challenging for them to claim you didn’t explain the associated risks.

Employee Handbook

Employee handbooks offer dental practice employees an opportunity to understand their explicit job rights and obligations.

An employee handbook at a dental practice should address:

  • Employee conduct
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Safety and security
  • Non-disclosures

Your employee handbook will also serve as an essential legal document should disputes arise.

See this article for more information about dental contract agreements.

Common Dental Disputes

Dental negligence is a common malpractice allegation. The dentist-patient relationship falls under the medical standard of care requirements. A lawyer for dentists will protect your rights when facing disputes or litigation issues.

Attorneys can investigate the dispute on your behalf, prove due diligence in dental specialist areas, and handle any other issues surrounding how you diagnose and treat teeth or dentures. They can also help you plan to reduce the possibility of a dispute in the first place.

Learn more about selecting a lawyer for dentists by reading this article .

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