Liability Risks for Occupational Therapists
When you chose to pursue a career as an occupational therapist, chances are you were thinking about how much you could help your patients. Did you also think about what kind of liability you would be taking on? Whether you are teaching people to perform their jobs with less pain or helping them remain independent in their homes, you deserve the right occupational therapist insurance. NOW Insurance can help you understand your liability and provide a policy that is tailored for you.
Understanding Occupational Therapist Liability
What are your unique insurance needs as an occupational therapist? What kinds of lawsuits might you encounter during your career? While you probably perform your work carefully, it is impossible to prevent all of the potential allegations against you, especially since they might be false. Even if you do everything right, you would still have to spend your time and money to defend yourself if a suit were brought against you. That’s where insurance comes in.
As an occupational therapist, you work directly with patients who are experiencing pain and difficulty in parts of their lives that are important to them. Oftentimes you see patients after they’ve experienced a major health event, like a stroke, or after a life altering accident. This leaves you vulnerable on a number of levels.
First, the person-to-person contact can result in claims of misconduct. Second, your patients are emotionally attached to the results and might claim negligence if the treatment doesn’t go as well as they expected.
Here are some situations where insurance could be helpful:
Everyone makes occasional errors at work. Unfortunately for you, an honest mistake could cost you all of your assets if it leads to a lawsuit. This type of lawsuit would fall under the category of malpractice.
Let’s say you are coaching someone who wants to learn how to shovel snow without irritating a past shoulder injury. You are very careful to explain the correct way they should grip the shovel. However, when they go home, they misremember your instructions and reinjure themselves.
Even though you did not actually make a mistake while providing your service, they claim that you did. In this situation, whether you are at fault or not is irrelevant. You could still be found legally responsible for their medical expenses.
When someone claims negligence against you, they are asserting that you did not fulfill all of your contractual obligations. Receiving an accusation of negligence means that, according to the accuser, some essential part of your service was lacking. Usually, this claim arises when a patient does not achieve the results he or she wanted to see.
Imagine that you are treating a teenager with an attention disorder. Her parents hope that your service will translate to better performance at school. After months of working with you, she receives a report card. Disappointingly, it shows that her grades did not improve.
In this scenario, the parents might initiate a negligence lawsuit. Their argument would be that you failed to provide some part of the service that would have made the difference between good grades and poor ones.
Sexual misconduct is any unwanted behavior of a sexual nature. It could be physical or verbal. As with other types of liability, you could find yourself in court regardless of whether or not you were fairly accused.
Occupational therapy includes hands on work where much of your job includes physically touching the patient’s body. It’s not hard to see how a patient could accuse you of improper touching.
Another example: You are working with a patient who is experiencing back pain while she is on the job. In one of your emails to her, the autocorrect on your laptop changes some of the wording. As a result, there are sexual innuendos in your email. You don’t notice this and send it out.
If someone gets hurt in your office, they have grounds for a bodily injury lawsuit. Additionally, if you are visiting a client in his or her home, that person could claim bodily injury if they get hurt while you are there.
You are at your patient’s kitchen table. In the middle of your appointment, you sneeze, knocking over a pot of hot tea. Your patient sues you for scalding him.
This type of loss occurs when someone’s property is harmed or destroyed. “Property” refers to electronics, vehicles, homes, and certain other kinds of assets.
Let’s go back to your patient’s kitchen table. You have just knocked over the pot of tea. Imagine that instead of scalding him, it spills all over his laptop. Rather than suing you for bodily injury, your client could sue you for property damage.
Personal injury deals with harm to one’s reputation, including slander and libel. Even if you do not say or print something with the intent to harm, off-handed comments can appear threatening to your patients.
You are helping a client whose anxiety is making it hard for him to show up to his job as a sales representative. In a private text to a friend, you mention that you do not think an anonymous patient is particularly well suited for the role. Your phone accidentally sends the text to the patient instead of your friend, and he recognizes himself in the description. After reading it, the patient decides to sue you for talking about him inappropriately.
The same technology that makes it easy for you to run your business might also increase your liability. Occupational therapists often store sensitive information electronically, including credit card details, social security numbers, and health records. You might be sued for the exposure of private information if your systems are hacked. Healthcare records are among the most valuable to hackers, with small clinics and privately owned practices being prime targets.
What Is Occupational Therapist Insurance?
Do all of these situations sound scary? Don’t worry; there is a solution: the right insurance. Occupational therapist insurance is coverage that will protect you against the kinds of lawsuits you have a high chance of incurring. Here are three types of policies you should look into:
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance is also known as medical malpractice in the healthcare field. It protects you against claims that you made mistakes while providing your services. Additionally, it covers allegations that your service was incomplete or negligent.
General Liability Insurance
This is the kind of insurance that most business owners need, regardless of what kind of business they do. It can help you if someone claims that you are legally responsible for their bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury. The injury in question could occur at your workplace or on their premises.
Cyber Security Insurance
Cyber security insurance is a safeguard against lawsuits that arise as a result of data breaches and other cybercrimes. It is especially important to have if you store your patients’ credit card information or medical records electronically.
Why Now Insurance?
At NOW Insurance, we provide comprehensive insurance for medical professionals. We understand your liability risks, and we have the expertise needed to give you adequate protection. We tailor our policies to each unique situation, ensuring you have the insurance you need but aren’t paying for extras you don’t.
We have over 20 years of experience working with medical professionals, and access to the right legal help to fight the claims brought against occupational therapists. Whether we are customizing a policy for you or making sure the process of filing a claim goes smoothly, we put our experience to your advantage.
Our values are at the heart of our operations. We have a strong commitment to our policyholders, and that sense of responsibility drives everything we do. Specifically, we believe that our service should be simple, fast, and affordable.
Understanding insurance can get complicated, but not with us. We are communication pros, responding quickly to your questions and clarifying policy details.
We know that if insurance is a hassle for you, your business will suffer. That is why we make everything simple and efficient. Our processes, including applying for insurance and submitting claims, are straightforward and easy. You can get a quote in under 3 minutes from our easy online application, and bind your policy today without ever speaking to a service rep.
Peace of Mind
When you know you have the right insurance, you can relax and focus on being a great occupational therapist. With our professional and general liability insurance, you will feel confident that you are safely covered. Your career is incredibly valuable, and you can trust us with everything you have worked to achieve.