Why Liability Insurance for Counselors Is More Important Than Ever
When you choose a career in counseling, it’s usually because you have the best of intentions. You long to see people improve their lives, work through their issues, and establish healthy new behaviors. Your work is important, even critical, to our society as a whole. However, counselors face ongoing risks for liability lawsuits.
When your daily life revolves around helping clients who suffer from anxiety, depression, or mental illness, you have to think carefully about the potential for liability issues. Every time you offer advice, you could help a client make life-saving changes or you could wind up with a massive lawsuit. There’s generally no way to predict which way it will go. That’s why it’s more important than ever to educate yourself on liability insurance for counselors and work with a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent to find a policy that will protect you from your daunting professional risks.
Counseling: A Growing Field for Compassionate Professionals
- Median pay in 2015 for mental health counselors: $43,190/year
- Entry-level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Required job training: internship/residency
- Number of jobs in 2014: 168,200
- Future outlook: 19% increase in jobs projected by 2024
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, counseling is a promising career choice with a positive outlook for the future. While many jobs are declining in today’s technology-centered society, the need for mental health counselors continues to grow each year. Whether you choose to focus on building a private counseling practice or hope to join an existing facility’s counseling staff, your prospects for future work are positive.
Real-World Liability Problems for Counselors
Counselors can face a variety of liability problems. Imagine that you are working with a husband, wife, and their teenage son. The couple is facing serious marital problems and the teen is acting out by skipping school and neglecting his usual activities.
Tension continues to grow, and after a few sessions, you learn that the teen got drunk and crashed the family car into a tree. The couple blames you for the accident, claiming that you neglected to offer proper treatment and mounting family tension drove the teen to start drinking. While this situation sounds ludicrous, it is something that could definitely happen. Make sure you’re protected by choosing professional liability insurance for counselors.
Here’s another example. A desperate mother pays for her daughter to visit a substance abuse counselor to address a debilitating drug addiction. After a few weeks of meeting with the counselor, the daughter tells her mother that she is making progress and believes she can beat her addiction once and for all. When her mother discovers that her daughter has passed away from a drug overdose just days later, she is furious, blaming the substance abuse counselor for her daughter’s death. The counselor faces a negligence lawsuit, despite doing everything possible to help the girl conquer her addiction. This is just one scenario, but it’s a perfect example of why substance abuse counselors need liability insurance.
Types of Liability Insurance for Counselors
If you are a licensed counselor looking for a policy that will reduce your liability risk, there are several types of coverage that you may need. A Trusted Choice independent insurance agent can help you determine the specific coverages that will offer you the most protection against common liability threats.
- General liability insurance: This protects you from claims for bodily injury. If a client slips and falls in your office and suffers a serious injury, your general liability insurance policy steps in to cover the cost of medical bills, while protecting you from related lawsuits.
- Professional liability insurance: This offers you protection against claims for errors and omissions. While general liability insurance covers physical injuries in your office, your professional liability policy is designed to offer coverage for emotional or physical injuries that result from taking your advice or following the recommendations you made during a counseling session.
Who Needs Counselors Insurance?
Family counselors: As a licensed family counselor, you face daily risks of lawsuits. It only takes one session that goes poorly to escalate into a massive legal battle, leaving behind a pile of debt and a tarnished reputation. Investing in liability insurance can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your business is protected and you have the financial resources needed to survive an expensive lawsuit.
Marriage counselors: When you work as a licensed marriage counselor, you face conflict and anxiety in your office every day. Things can take a downward turn if a client begins blaming you for their continuing marriage problems. Even if you are offering the best possible assistance to your clients, they can claim that your advice was emotionally harmful and sue you for damages. Liability insurance provides a buffer to protect your business in this unfortunate situation.
Substance abuse counselors: Substance abuse counselors are some of the most courageous and compassionate professionals in the world of counseling. Dealing with addictions is no joke, and these counselors work hard to help their clients find freedom and new beginnings. Unfortunately, substance abuse counselors also face frequent lawsuits, even when they haven’t done anything wrong. Due to the sensitive nature of this counseling niche, you should consult with a Trusted Choice independent insurance agent to create a customized liability insurance plan for your business.
Types of Lawsuits against Counselors
If you are a counselor, you could be sued even if you have done nothing wrong. If a client perceives that your advice or lack thereof caused any type of harm, then you could ultimately be found liable for damages. Liability lawsuits against counselors can be related to:
- Improper treatment
- Sexual impropriety
- Negligence (real or perceived)
- Confidentiality breach
- Patient suicide
- Libel or slander
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Failure to diagnose
- Breach of contract
Don’t Risk It: Get the Right Counselors Insurance
When you dedicate your life to helping others as a counselor, you hope that you will never face an unfair lawsuit. However, liability issues happen every day and you can’t afford to ignore the potential for a devastating lawsuit. Purchasing liability insurance gives you peace of mind, because you know that you are protected if a client ever claims that you were negligent or gave improper treatment. Take action to protect yourself by choosing a reliable professional liability insurance policy for counselors. Contact a local Trusted Choice agent today to find the right policy.
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