Generally, medical malpactice - often referred to as "medmal" - covers any claim or accusation where you've made the kind of mistake that has harmed someone. It could be a physical or mental injury and even death. Medmal, which may also be known as 'treatment liability insurance', helps protect both: your finances and reputation.
This insurance may cover things such as: paying for a specialist lawyer for your defence, picking up legal costs, and covering any compensation you must pay. Medmal cover will help whether a claim is justified and proven or not. Either way it is crucial to your peace of mind when running your practice.
1. When looking for insurance, check that it gives you adequate cover.
It should include:
● Treatment and professional liability cover. This covers you if you injure a client - either physically or mentally. For example, as a beauty therapist, if you accidentally damaged your client’s eye while putting on fake eyelashes. Or, as a counsellor, if you gave advice that makes your client's mental condition worse.
● Public liability (PL). If you see patients face-to-face, PL is good to have. If a client injures themselves by tripping over a loose floor tile or if you visit them at home and break something, PL will cover you. If there’s an accident or accusation, PL pays your legal fees and any compensation.
2. You may also want to consider these as optional add ons. You can always add to your existing policy at a later date:
● Employers' liability (EL). This is a legal requirement if you employ someone. EL covers you if an employee is insured while at work. For example, someone trips in the kitchen and breaks their wrist, or an employee gets a long-term back injury from not having the right chair. EL covers the legal costs associated with a claim and pays any compensation awarded. If you own a salon and rent a chair out, this also counts as employment, so you'd need EL.
● Portable equipment insurance. If you use specialist equipment and lose it, damage it, or it gets stolen, you'll need to replace it. Your equipment insurance pays to repair or replace your kit quickly and keeps you working.
● Cyber insurance. If you work remotely, hold data about customers, have a website or send emails, cyber insurance is advisable. Cyber covers the cost of repairing and restoring your systems, data and website after a breach or hack. Cyber also covers legal fees and compensation if you're sued for losing personal data.
3. It's worth checking if specific treatments that you offer are included in your policy. Beauty insurance, for example, usually covers a long list of treatments, but some more specialist therapies may be excluded.
You’ll also need to confirm that you have enough training to satisfy your insurer's minimum requirement. Most policies ask for a certain level of training and experience, and some policies will only cover medical practitioners.