Am I liable to pay for accidental damages I caused while interning at a dental office?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I liable to pay for accidental damages I caused while interning at a dental office?

I was working as an intern in a dental
office and accidentally dropped a very
expensive piece of equipment called a
sensor…5 to 10 grand. The dentist is
asking I pay for it and does not want
their insurance to pay cover it. My
insurance does not cover accidental
damages of equipment. I spoke with my
CDA claims and they said I am not
liable. What do you say?
Thanks you

Asked on April 5, 2017 under Insurance Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you were careless in dropping it--which you probably were, since it's generally considered careless to drop an expensive piece of medical equipment--then you were negligent; and if you were negligent, then unfortunately, you are liable, or responsible, for the cost. An employee who negligently damages her employer's property--actually anyone who negligently damages another's property--is liable for it. The dentist could sue you for the value of the equipment and, based on what you write, very likely win.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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