Why Every Counselor Should Have Malpractice Insurance (Even If You’re Just Starting Out)
With more and more people seeking treatment for mental health conditions, choosing a career in this field can be an excellent move. But a clinical counselor will face numerous difficult decisions and situations throughout their working life, so they need good malpractice insurance to protect themselves. Most mental health workers would never hurt their patients on purpose, but mistakes can happen, and having the right coverage prevents career-ending incidents.
Why Do Clinical Counselors Need Malpractice Insurance?
When you first start out as a counselor, your aim is to make a positive difference in your patients’ lives. You will achieve this most of the time, but occasionally, you might make a mistake or give the wrong advice. If a patient believes they have been harmed by this, they can sue you for malpractice. To make sure that this doesn’t hurt your career and financial life in the long run, you need to have a reliable insurance policy in place.
Not only can this help to protect your earnings and career, but it can also lend you the confidence you need to treat your patients optimally. Because you don’t have to worry about being sued, you can focus all your energy on performing your job well. What’s more, you can also get coverage for online risks such as data breaches, which are becoming increasingly common as technology is incorporated into a therapist’s everyday life.
You Will Face Difficult Decisions
As a counselor, you will face challenging situations throughout your career. Many of them involve making a decision that could affect your patient’s life and the wellbeing of their family and friends significantly. For example, you must protect your clients from themselves, so if you believe that someone is at risk of suicide or other forms of harm, you are obligated to intervene.
Similarly, you have a duty to warn, which means that client confidentiality does not apply when you believe that your patient is likely to hurt other people in the future. Although this seems like common sense, it’s sometimes exceedingly hard to tell whether your patient is a threat to themselves or others. If you make the wrong call, you might be sued by them or their family, so it’s important to be covered just in case.
Insurance Can Prevent Career-Ending Incidents
Sometimes, lawsuits are legitimate, but at other times, the client is clearly in the wrong and simply attempting to obtain some money from you. While you may not be at fault in such a case, it can still be very damaging for your career and ruin your reputation.
When you sign up with a reputable insurance company, they will help you to fight against such claims by providing you with a competent lawyer who knows the local and federal malpractice laws. They will be able to discredit the client’s faulty claim, so your name is cleared. That way, you can minimize the risk of career-ending incidents that are otherwise outside of your control. The right policy will also provide coverage for board actions if your license is at risk.
You Have to Protect Your Financial Wellbeing
A lawsuit can be detrimental to your personal finances, particularly if you’re not properly insured. Depending on the situation and why the client is claiming compensation, you might face a six or seven-figure bill that you’re unlikely to be able to afford. Fortunately, your insurance will cover you up to the policy’s limit, which is often several million, so you don’t have to worry about your finances.
You Might Be Exposed to Cyber Risks
New innovations and technologies are constantly being developed, and they can make a counselor’s life easier by automating routine processes and storing patient data in their online record. However, they also pose certain risks, particularly to your clients’ sensitive data.
For this reason, most therapists should also consider getting cybersecurity insurance, which covers you when you experience a data breach or cybercrime. Such a plan can help you to inform your clients about the issue, pay for the expenses, repair your system, and recover all of the data that was stolen.
Insurance Helps You to Treat Patients Confidently
Aside from the practical reasons that speak for professional liability insurance, peace of mind and professional confidence are two additional factors you have to take into consideration. When you know that your finances and reputation are protected, you can focus your energy on your job without worrying about what will happen if a client decides to sue you. This can help to prevent stress and ensure that you perform at your best.
Every mental health worker needs malpractice insurance, so they can treat their patients to the best of their ability without risking life-changing incidents. Whether you’re a new or seasoned clinical counselor, you need to have a policy in place that protects you both online and offline.
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