Professional Liability Insurance For Physical Therapists ... Do I Really Need It?
We are often told by Healthcare Professionals that either they don't feel they need individual malpractice coverage because they are "covered" by their facility or that their facility has advised them not to obtain individual coverage.
Here are some of the more important points you should consider:
- Would you put your professional future in someone else's hands or believe someone if they said "Sure your assets are protected, just trust me."?
- Even if you've seen the groups' policy – are the limits of liability separate for each professional or are they shared amongst a large group?
- Though your employer's policy may cover you, it could only be but up to a point. Your employer's policy is designed to serve their own needs and protect their interests first.
- If a claim arose naming you, some staff superiors and the facility, whose interests would the attorney put first? Yours? If you have your own individual policy, you will have the benefit of your own representation, when needed, that is concerned specifically with your interest.
- By having everyone covered under their own policy, the facility can control the defense and settlements of all parties involved in a claim, regardless of each individual's culpability. If you own your own policy, an attorney assigned solely to you will fight for your interests and will not allow an arbitrary settlement on your behalf without your knowledge. Perhaps the facility would prefer that the care giver did not have independent legal counsel at the time of a loss.
- The facility has a strong financial incentive to settle claims quickly, at the lowest cost to them, regardless of the effect that the settlement may have on your personal and professional future.
- Contributing to this financial motivation to settle claims quickly, is that many large facilities maintain a large"self-insurance" deductible in their insurance program. This means the facility is the insurer for the "first layer"– often $1,000,000 or more – of coverage. In effect, there is no insurance company responsible for this first layer. The facility pays those losses itself. Consequently, the facility has even more incentive to pay the claim, not fight for your innocence.
- The facility could decline coverage at the time of the loss on the grounds that you did not follow its' instructions and protocols. If you are denied coverage, it is up to you to use your personal assets to pay for legal defense and any settlements made against you.
- Most hospital and large facilities policies, (including the self insurance layer) are "claims made" not occurrence. Remember, this means if the claim is made later, after you have left the facility, you may not be covered.
- As medical facilities consolidate and close, their insurance programs disappear and change without your knowledge. Are you sure that you will be covered for your services at a former workplace after that facility is acquired or closed? Healthcare professionals routinely change jobs. What happens if you are named in a lawsuit for an incident that occurred three years ago and you are no longer employed there? Who would you turn to? This is when having your own policy truly provides peace of mind!
- Would you be covered by your employer if you are moonlighting or doing volunteer work? The vast majority of facility policies only cover you for your specific duties at that facility. So, whether you are moonlighting or volunteering, or simply giving medical advice to a friend or neighbor, if a lawsuit is ever brought against you in those roles, your employer's policy will most likely not cover you at all. Even providing Good Samaritan medical services to someone on the street or at a child's sporting event can leave you at risk without any liability protection.
- Will my policy provide coverage if I'm assaulted on the job? Yes, in most states, our policy provides protection of up to $25,000 per year for your medical expenses or property damage if you are assaulted at work or while commuting to and from your workplace. And because our policy defines "workplace" as anywhere you are providing professional services, this coverage will travel with you into the field.
- Am I more likely to be sued with my own policy? No. Since insurance information is considered private, no one can know that you have an individual policy until you are already named in a lawsuit. At this point you are already being sued, whether you have an individual policy or not.
When You Carry A Physical Therapist Professional Liability Policy From CM&F Group ...
- YOU control it!
- Your job description may change, but your premiums always the same rate.
- Whether you are employed or self-employed your premium cost is the same low rate.
- It follows you and protects you at every job location, anywhere in the United States or anywhere in the world.
- It protects you while on vacation, while doing volunteer work, or just giving advice to a friend or neighbor.
- It provides you with your own lawyer, who will fight for your interests only, with no limit on defense costs.
- No matter what happens to a former employer - whether it closes, gets acquired or simply cancels its own coverage - you are still protected.
- You choose the limit of liability to suit your needs without having to share it with others.
- Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from CM&F's 30 year relationship with one of the largest insurance carriers in the world, who consistently carries the strongest financial ratings in the industry. With that kind of financial security, you know that your coverage is safe well into the future.
- To learn more about how CM&F's Malpractice Insurance for Physical Therapists and PT Assistants, visit www.cmfgroup.com or call 1-800-221-4904.