As a health care professional, there are certain types of insurances that are often recommended to protect yourself and your business, from a potentially costly legal claim. These include policies related to general liability, professional liability, and product liability. What’s the difference?
Decoding Liability Insurance
Investopedia explains that liability insurance is any type of insurance that “provides protection against claims resulting from injuries and damage to people and/or property.” In other words, whereas medical insurance protects you from having to pay astronomical amounts of money in the event you experience a personal medical emergency, liability insurance protects you from having to pay astronomical amounts in the event that one of your clients decides to sue you.
The intent of this type of insurance is to help you cover the many legal costs associated with defending yourself in court, such as paying attorney fees or other costs associated with preparing for a civil trial should someone file a legal claim against you. Liability insurance is also intended to help pay some or all of any type of money judgement in the event that the court or a jury says you must, whether due to illegal or negligent actions.
Furthermore, the term ‘liability insurance’ actually encompasses a variety of different policies, each one offering different protections. Three of the most common are:
- General liability insurance – covers a variety of potential costs associated with a legal claim, some of which include bodily injury, property damage, personal and advertising injury (false or misleading advertising), medical payments, slander and libel, and premises and operations liability.
- Professional liability insurance – offers protections related to errors and omissions as well as malpractice types of suits (which can occur when a client makes a claim that improper treatment was provided).
- Product liability insurance – protects you from injury or death that results from a product or product line that you sell in your physical therapy practice.
Carrying these three policies can help protect you as a physical therapy professional in several different scenarios. But how do you select the best insurances for you?
What to Look for When Choosing a Liability Insurance Policy as a Physical Therapist
If you’ve ever read your auto insurance or health insurance policy, then you already know that these types of policies can be very complex. However, there are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood of choosing the right type of coverage for your liability insurance policies.
Identify Your Most Likely Risks
The worst time to have to figure out how to effectively handle a problem is after it already exists. The more you plan ahead by identifying the risks that exist in your particular field, the better prepared you are should one actually occur.
According to Health care IT News, the top reasons behind medical malpractice suits are: failure to diagnose (31 percent), abnormal injury to patient (31 percent), failure to treat (12 percent, poor documentation (4 percent), medication administration errors (4 percent), failure to follow safety procedures (3 percent), and no informed consent (3 percent). While not all of these apply to PTs, it’s important to identify the ones that do and protect yourself from these types of cases as much as possible.
Another way to go about this step is to make note of all the situations or environments that could potentially be exposing you to higher levels of risk. Keep a running list so you know what types of things your liability insurance needs to cover to provide you adequate protection in your particular practice.
Find a Liability Insurance Company that Covers Most, If Not All of Them
Once you realize which risks are most likely that can cause the most potential harm, the next step is to find a liability insurance company that covers as many of them as possible. This requires taking the time to review the policies available and asking questions if you have them. In the end, it’s important to know the situations polices cover, as well as the ones they don’t.
Ideally, you want to find a liability insurance company that checks as many boxes as possible on your potential risk list. This reduces the financial impact on you personally and professionally should one of your clients decide to file a lawsuit.
Choose A Liability Insurance Company in Your Field
Who knows the risks you face as a PT better than a liability insurance that caters specifically to this profession? This is one huge advantage of going with a company that offers policies designed specifically for individuals working within the physical therapy field.
My PT Insurance is one such company that offers these types of catered policies, providing three of the most common liability insurances recommended for physical therapy professionals. They also cover additional disciplines as well, providing coverage for PTs who personal train, teach fitness classes, perform massage, or offer any number of other modalities on the side.
My PT Insurance has different rates based on whether you’re a PT who are currently employed or if you work independently, so you’re only paying for the coverage you need. Additional benefits are available as well, such as those related to identity protection, rental damage, and stolen equipment.
Although choosing physical therapist insurance can seem like a daunting task, it’s vital for physical therapists to ensure protection for yourself and your business.