Risks in the medical field have prompted many physical therapists to find and secure PT liability insurance.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) shares that there are many reasons to choose physical therapy, or PT, as your career of choice. The first being that you can truly make a difference in people’s lives. There’s also the benefit of working in a variety of different settings—ranging from hospitals to sports and fitness facilities to nursing homes—even owning and operating your own practice.
Though all of these things make working as a PT sound great, the reality is that there are some risks associated with working in this field. For instance, there’s the risk that a particular movement can potentially make a patient feel worse instead of better, maybe because you weren’t informed of a prior injury. There is also the risk that have nothing at all to do with your level of care, but can drain you financially if they’re pursued. For example, when a patient inadvertently trips on his or her way to the restroom and sues you because of it.
It’s instances such as these that have prompted many PTs to find and secure liability insurance. But what exactly is liability insurance, when should you get it, and how do you find the best policy for you?
About PT Liability Insurance
Investopedia explains that liability insurance is “any insurance policy that protects an individual or business from the risk that they may be sued and held legally liable for something such as malpractice, injury or negligence.” In layman’s terms, PT liability insurance can help protect you financially should someone sue you and/or your business.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to necessarily be at fault in order to be sued. You see it in criminal cases all of the time. For example, when an intruder sues a homeowner for not taking care of the home’s porch, causing the intruder to fall and injure themselves.
In other words, you can be the best PT in the world and still be sued in a court of law. Of course, the other person may not win, but you’ll still have to fight it out.
So, what happens if you’re employed by a healthcare agency? Though it may seem that you’d be covered in this instance, this isn’t necessarily the case. That’s why some PTs choose to carry supplemental insurance, which is insurance that covers situations and amounts that extend beyond the agency’s policy.
This also gives the PT a little more personal protection should the agency decide that the issue at hand is not their responsibility or fault, thus not covered by their insurance.
Insurance Consideration Factors
One of the top consideration factors when it comes to deciding whether to purchase PT liability insurance is whether you can financially support both a lengthy court battle and potentially high payout.
The second expense—the potentially high payout—is likely the most damaging with a 2017 study published in JAMA stating that, while payouts are actually decreasing in numbers, the amount of money being awarded is going up.
In fact, the mean compensation payment for medical malpractice lawsuits is now more than $325,000, with 7.6 percent of these cases involving payouts in excess of $1 million. Therefore, if you cannot pay this money outright if ordered to do so, liability insurance could provide you the ability should a court decide that it is due and owing.
In the end, PT liability insurance can give you peace of mind – knowing that your business, and your family, is covered in the event that one of your patients is injured while under your care, even if that injury was not your fault.
Cons of PT Liability Insurance
If liability is so great, why don’t some PTs carry it? One of the reasons is cost. Though PT liability insurance does offer financial protection should a lawsuit occur, it still costs money up front to purchase it.
Another potential con of liability insurance is that, oftentimes, PTs wind up having to obtain multiple policies, each one covering a different liability. For instance, some policies are designed to only cover you as a PT whereas others are needed to protect your facility or any products that you sell.
This can make obtaining PT liability insurance so overwhelming that you decide to take your chances instead. It almost feels easier to shoulder the risk versus trying to understand what each policy covers, how it protects you, and what you have to do to get it.
You Have Options
Fortunately, there are liability insurance companies out there that strive to make the process of obtaining this type of protection as simple as it can be. My PT Insurance is one of them, offering PTs the ability to purchase just one liability policy that covers multiple modalities.
My PT Insurance coverage is immediate, which means that you’re protected from the moment you sign up. The sign-up process is quick and simple too, oftentimes getting you coverage in three minutes or less.
Plus, My PT Insurance travels with you. So, if you wind up taking your skills to a new location, you don’t have to go through the process of obtaining all new insurance policies. You just take your coverage with you.
Finally, it’s also one of the lowest cost options for this level of professional liability coverage. And with the amount of financial security it provides in return, well, that makes it a coverage you can’t afford to live without.