A professional liability claim need not portend an inevitable disaster resulting in an unfavorable verdict, the loss of a professional reputation and payment of a huge monetary judgment. Proper recordkeeping, upholding the standards of the "prudent practitioner" and general common sense can make a long stride toward a successful defense. Incorporation of these elements in your everyday practice, long before a claim is ever made, can help provide the most defensible position should a claim, in fact, be made. This paper attempts to give the reader some general ideas and practice hints to help avoid malpractice situations in the first place or at least make them more defensible if litigation ensues. However, it does not purport to discuss every aspect of optometric practice that can result in a claim, to have reviewed every case on the subject or present a final definitive statement or law in any given jurisdiction. On the other hand, the paper does hope to help the reader understand the general legal theories that are applicable, the major areas for potential claims, along with a presentation of illustrative cases, and provide the reader with some suggestions to help avoid or minimize any potential litigation.
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