Why Professional Liability? Understanding your Risk

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

Professional Liability and Malpractice Insurance are different terms referring to the same thing: protection for your professional services. As a mental health professional, CPH & Associates offers you peace of mind while extending the type of coverage we often call “malpractice insurance.”

Over the course of a career, most professionals will experience this “What should I do?” moment. That is why we are here at CPH & Associates to help you navigate through a potentially difficult process. We are here so that, in the case of an unfortunate event or professional complaint, you don’t have to go it alone.

Even if you don’t necessarily have a lawsuit or board complaint on your hands, we offer consultations with an attorney under our “Avoiding Liability Helpline” so that you can speak with someone to avoid any such situation. Also, our monthly “Avoiding Liability Bulletin” provides insight on new scenarios to help clinicians through potential ethical dilemmas that are coming to light in an ever changing and evolving field.

Malpractice insurance isn’t only for medical professionals. In these litigious times, mental health professionals are encouraged to carry professional liability insurance (or malpractice insurance) to safeguard from a claim or lawsuit named against you and/or your business.

If a client, their spouse, or parent/guardian files a complaint or lawsuit, malpractice insurance with CPH & Associates provides unlimited defense coverage and state licensing board defense to protect your career and assets.

Coverage highlights include:

  • Occurrence form Lifetime coverage

  • Professional Liability coverage is portable and follows you wherever you can legally practice

  • Unlimited defense coverage

  • Optional General Liability “Slip and Fall” Coverage

  • Business Personal Property Coverage

  • State licensing board defense coverage

  • Deposition expense coverage

The professional liability journey begins with student practicum and coverage can be upgraded/customized throughout the path to licensure. Associate level mental health professionals, fully licensed professionals, and group practice owners should be protected continuously through each step.

CPH & Associates is committed to partnering with therapists throughout their professional journey to meet the unique needs presented over the course of one’s education, training, supervision and private practice. Insuring those in the mental health field is our specialty. We will listen to our clients and have proven to be flexible in tailoring the policy to the needs of you, the clinician, to provide the protection you need.

As an employee of a group practice, you may still want to consider securing individual coverage. As a professional, you know that some of the biggest breakthroughs occur once a client has settled into therapy and developed a level of trust with the clinician. This trust comes, in part, from the intimate and private setting of therapy itself. Unfortunately, this atmosphere also exposes professionals to claims of negligence and misconduct, and, to add insult to injury, an employer’s policy may not be enough.

An employer’s policy is set up to cover the employer for any liability it may face from your work, but this doesn’t guarantee that the policy adequately protects you. The employer’s insurance is in place to protect the agency you work for. It’s prudent for the individual clinician to maintain their own policy that puts them first in the event of a complaint or lawsuit.  

Understanding common claims we see from mental health professionals illustrates the importance of maintaining continuous coverage. Here are two real life examples of claims that were submitted to us from our clients. For privacy reasons the names and states were changed, but the scenarios are real.

Scenario #1:

The first scenario concerns a business policy in Utah with multiple employees holding various mental health licenses. The wife of the client filed a lawsuit against the company stating that one of the employees was having an ongoing relationship with her husband. In the board complaint and civil suit that was filed, the owner is alleged to have known about the ongoing relationship and is accused of negligent supervision of their employee. The lawsuit names the owner, employee, and the business itself alleging emotional damages, negligent supervision of an employee and is seeking monetary compensation for the employee’s actions.

Policy Coverage:

The owner has coverage for both the suit and board complaint because the client’s dates of treatment fell within the policy period. The employee does not receive defense coverage in the suit because they admitted to sexual misconduct. The policy will defend the insureds listed on the policy up until fault is admitted.