Occupational therapists perform a vital role in society. When a person finds themselves injured or disabled and they are unable to find work with their current skill set, an occupational therapist can help them find the path to a new means of making a living. This may involve schooling or training. Occupational therapists like any professional can only offer advice and ideas to their clients. The client has to make the change happen. In some situations a client may believe that the therapist did not give them the support they needed or they believe the therapist has given them bad advice. They might choose to file a legal claim to recoup their costs and collect damages. This is why occupational therapists need to have professional liability insurance for their small business.
Attorneys and Courts
The main objective of occupational therapists is to help their customers find gainful employment that matches their current abilities. The second objective should be to run their small business in a way that avoids attorneys and courtrooms at all costs. Liability claims are not always fair but they still must be handled. Handling frivolous claims can be a costly proposition. When you have professional liability insurance, you have a team at your insurance company that handles every claim filed. Whether or not the claim holds water does not mean it will not cost you money without this coverage.
As a professional there are many ways you can protect yourself from liability claims. The first step you must take is to have adequate insurance. The next suggestions should be implemented from day one, such as record keeping and understanding your legal obligation as a professional is vital to your success in the occupational therapy industry. What is your legal obligation as a professional?
As a professional occupational therapist you are expected to act with reasonable care. When you take on patients you are legally obligated to use the same amount of care in making decisions that affect these patients’ lives as you would make in your life. This is not a hard line to draw. As an educated, ethical occupational therapist it is easy to know the difference between responsible and irresponsible behavior. Even the most ethical and responsible professionals face liability claims. It is part of doing business. When you have the documentation to back you up and the insurance provider on your side you can defend yourself without harming your bottom line.
You must document that your patient understands their choices and your recommendations. You can do this by employing thorough and extensive record keeping. There is no such thing as too much when it comes to records. The more information you have about your patients, and the more you document the process as it moves along, the better off you both will be. If a liability claim were to come up, your records can prove that you followed protocol and did your job effectively. That can help your insurance provider stop the claim dead in its tracks.
As a small business person you are vital to the economy. As an occupational therapist you are vital to the success of people who are feeling left out of a world in which they no longer know where they fit. You might see patients that have done the same thing for 25 years and now have to find a new way to make money. Make sure you have the insurance policy in place to protect your important business so you can keep helping the people who need you.