8 Reasons a Family Counselor Should Be Insured
You might not think of malpractice insurance being important when you are a family counselor. After all, you are not cutting into someone’s body or prescribing medication that could potentially harm them. However, insurance is just as important to therapists and counselors as it is to medical doctors. This is because you are providing a diagnosis and treatment to people, and it is possible that your clients could claim that they were negatively affected because you made the wrong call or missed something you should have caught while working with a family.
Remember, you don’t have to actually do something wrong to be sued. But you do have to spend the money to defend yourself. You need to be sure that you are protecting yourself and your career.
8 Reasons a Family Counselor Should Have Malpractice Insurance
1. Protect Yourself and Your Future
We live in a society where litigation is not uncommon and people are encouraged to sue when something goes wrong. Just one lawsuit could potentially cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that might be a financial blow from which you cannot recover.
2. You Could Make a Mistake
Everyone makes mistakes, but one mistake as a therapist could cost you your career. Clients in therapy are sometimes hard to read, and you may not be getting the full picture of a situation before you are pressured to make a diagnosis. Or you may simply miss something important that you should have seen.
No matter the reason for the mistake in diagnosis or treatment, you can be held legally responsible if that mistake causes harm to your client. That client or the client’s family could sue you for a great deal of money based on one simple misdiagnosis or mistake in treatment.
3. Clients May Lie
Clients in therapy are not always honest about their situations. Your client might give you information that leads you to a particular diagnosis or treatment plan that turns out to be completely wrong. While it may be possible to use your notes or other means to defend your diagnosis, you may not be able to prove your case to a judge’s satisfaction.
There are all kinds of harm a client or a family counselor can claim in a case of malpractice, and it isn’t just physical harm. Your client may claim that he or she lost time at work because of your diagnosis or treatment plan. The client can also claim mental suffering of themselves or their child. People are not always honest, especially in the context of working with family and interesting family dynamics.
4. Courts are Unpredictable
Even if it seems like the evidence shows clearly that you are not guilty of malpractice, you cannot always know for sure what a court will say. Even in cases where therapists were certain they did nothing wrong, courts have awarded the plaintiff money. The only way to truly know that you are protected against a frivolous lawsuit is to have insurance to cover you if a court awards payment.
5. Professional Organizations Expect It
Throughout your career, you are likely to want to join several different professional organizations. This is important for keeping up your reputation as well as for building relationships with other professionals in your field and growing your career. Many professional organizations require that their members carry malpractice insurance, and you may seem irresponsible to your peers if you are not adequately insured.
6. Your Employer May Require It
You will certainly want to carry insurance if you begin your own practice because you will be counting on yourself for professional protection against malpractice lawsuits.
However, if you choose to join another group as an employee, that practice may also require you to have insurance before they will allow you to work with them. Having insurance will show that you are serious about your duties as a professional.
7. Your University May Require It
As you are pursuing your career as a therapist, you are likely to seek further education. This is necessary to keep up with recent advancements in therapy and family counseling and to be sure that you are aware of and understand the most up-to-date information possible. You may also want to build on your education by earning further degrees and pursuing other academic accomplishments.
As you are pursuing further education, you may find that universities and other educational facilities will require you to have insurance before you can begin a practicum or be supervised and evaluated as you work.
8. License Protection
The right professional liability policy will provide license protection if your license is threatened. A board complaint can be made against your license for any reason by anyone, even by your employer. Mistakes can happen to anyone, and sometimes, the error might not be directly your fault. However, some patients or their families don’t take this into consideration, and they may try to get your license revoked. In such a case, you will need to rely on your own professional liability policy to protect you from losing your livelihood. It’s up to you to defend your license, not your employer’s insurance.
As you can see, having liability insurance is critical to a family therapist or counselor for many different reasons. At NOW Insurance we make insurance simple, fast and affordable. Our policies are tailored to your needs, so you have exactly the amount of insurance required without paying for extras. Learn more about professional liability insurance for counselors. Fill out our easy application to get a quote in under 3 minutes. Let us help you get the legal protection and peace of mind you need as a counselor.