Occupational therapists are vulnerable to loss when things go wrong in the course of their practice. They may be running an independent practice, working with a group of occupational therapists, or being associated with hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Regardless of the business model, business insurance is a must.
Here is a basic example. An occupational therapist is helping their patient learn how to walk again after a life-altering surgery. They correctly demonstrate the exercise that needs to be done by the patient every morning in their home. The patient heads home, does the exercise incorrectly, and then suffers an injury. Even though it is not the therapist's fault, the patient files a lawsuit against the therapist.
Facing a lawsuit is a significant event resulting in loss of time, money, and reputation for the occupational therapist or occupational therapy practice. Even if the company has exercised all precautions to build a sustainable, safe, and responsible practice, such incidents can negatively impact years of work.
This is where investing in comprehensive business insurance for occupational therapists can protect the practice from claims or lawsuits that put a dent in your bottom line. This blog breaks down potential liabilities and provides a snapshot of business insurance policies available to address each one.
Occupational therapists are subject to several risks in the course of their practice, as follows:
- An accident can occur, injuring someone either at the occupational therapist's office or when they visit their clients. The practitioner may need to compensate the injured party and pay for their damages.
- A client may decide to sue the occupational therapist if they believe there is no improvement in their condition or if the occupational therapist commits an error in diagnoses or treatment type that may impact a client's recovery.
- Occupational therapists may need to spend extensively on legal fees in the case of lawsuits.
- Loss or damage to the business's owner's office and contents from fires, windstorms, riots, or burglary.
Occupational Therapist Business Insurance is a worthy investment when one is looking to build a long-term, successful practice. The various policies will cover occupational therapists from financial losses, damage to business assets, and the temporary shutdown of their business.
Overview of insurance policies
Occupational therapists must invest in various types of insurance to protect themselves from a wide range of loss exposures. It is advisable to get adequate coverage in the face of multiple eventualities.
1. General Liability Insurance
This is a basic insurance policy that protects business owners or independent practitioners from common events such as third-party bodily injury and property damage, and personal and advertising injuries such as false arrest, invasion of privacy, libel, slander, or copyright infringement. It is advisable for occupational therapists to get general liability insurance to protect their practice from these common scenarios. They may need to spend on legal services and pay out compensation. General liability insurance helps protect their business from bankruptcy.
2. Professional Liability/ Malpractice Insurance
Another relevant insurance is Occupational Therapy Professional Liability Insurance, a type of Errors and Omissions or Malpractice Liability insurance. There may be certain cases where a patient may be dissatisfied with the quality of therapy delivered. For instance, they may feel that the treatment administered for improving muscular control is not working and their condition is not improving. Alternatively, there could be an error in the therapy approach, which negatively impacts a patient's well-being or physically injures a patient.
Patients may file a malpractice lawsuit, which can significantly drain the financial resources of an occupational therapist. Such lawsuits not only take a financial toll but also cause reputational harm. They can even lead to the permanent closure of the practice. Hence, it is advisable to invest in adequate coverage under a malpractice insurance policy.
3. Property and Equipment Insurance
Occupational therapists who have their own workspaces, such as clinics, centers, or offices, must consider getting commercial property insurance. Common occurrences, such as a fire breaking out, tornados, windstorms (hurricanes), or vandalism and theft, can cause loss or damage to the practice's physical assets. These incidents come at a high cost to the business. For instance, occupational therapists will need to invest in replacing or repairing expensive equipment such as laptops, office furnishings, and therapy-related equipment. They may also need to pause their services due to the damage caused, losing income. Under property and equipment insurance, the value of equipment and furniture is covered, and occupational therapists can have their businesses up and running in no time.
4. Business Owner's Policy
Occupational therapists looking for comprehensive coverage can consider taking a business owner's policy, which combines general liability and commercial property insurance. By taking a business owner's policy, occupational therapists can reduce vulnerabilities to incidents of property damage and liability from their operations.
5. Workers' Compensation
This type of insurance is mandatory in certain states based on the number of staff hired by occupational therapists, such as receptionists, therapy assistants, and drivers. This policy covers a percentage of the lost wages and the medical care for employees injured on the job. In the unlikely event of a fatal injury, state-mandated death benefits are also paid. For instance, an employee may sustain an injury during work hours, rendering them incapacitated to work. Workers' compensation insurance comes to the rescue in such a situation.
6. Commercial Auto Insurance
Some occupational therapy practices may also own automobiles. These may be used to transport employees, equipment, or patients. With autos used for business purposes, there is a potential for accidents, creating legal liability when at fault for the accident. Auto liability is required in most states for bodily injury and property damage to others harmed in an accident that your driver was ticketed. Damage to owned business vehicles resulting from accidents (collision), or vandalism, flood, or theft (comprehensive) coverage can be included.
Commercial auto insurance has the ability to cover all these potential occurrences. It also covers scenarios where the other driver is at fault for an accident and does not possess liability insurance or their limit is not enough to cover your damages. This is called Uninsured Motorists or Underinsured Motorists coverage and it pays for your bodily injuries incurred. Other state-required coverage is also included, such as No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection, and medical payments.
Investing in adequate Business Insurance for Occupational Therapists, which includes a Commercial Auto Policy, is a valuable investment.
7. Cyber Insurance
Today, many occupational therapy businesses depend on technology to run their practices successfully. A practice uses computers, mobile phones, and digital software to create, store and distribute information to clients, billing insurance companies, and other stakeholders in their business. This growing dependency on the digital world makes them vulnerable to cyber-crimes, such as a range of phishing methods. By taking a cyber-insurance policy, they will be able to mitigate losses and pay for the cost of reputation management, instant and secure notification of clients, and the cost of potential lawsuits and court trials.
Today every healthcare practitioner in the ecosystem considers insurance as an investment in the longevity and sustainability of the practices. The reality is no different for occupational therapists. No matter how much they invest in building a safe and credible practice, it is equally important to invest in occupational therapists' insurance to safeguard and continue growing their practice.
Occupational therapists can consider partnering with an experienced insurance business insurance agency, such as InsuranceAdvisor.com. they can collaboratively identify the most suitable insurance coverage for their businesses based on their specific needs.