Contingency Medical Malpractice (vicarious liability) – are you covered?
If you are a practice Principal with other osteopaths working in your clinic you may have to meet a claim for someone else’s malpractice, and your professional indemnity policy may not cover you if a claim is made against your clinic. We look at why this may happen and how the iO’s insurance can protect members.
In many areas of healthcare, lawyers representing patients are increasingly pursuing all the potential parties involved in a claim, and in particular those who may appear to have the deepest pockets, the business rather than the individual. In theory a clinic dealing with a complaint about the treatment provided by an individual practitioner would simply pass this to the therapist responsible and their insurers would deal with it. But in practice it may not be this simple and the clinic owner could get caught up in the litigation, have to enter into legal proceedings to clear their name and may also become responsible for settling the damages.
For example, claims can arise from:
- A process the clinic has set up
- A confidentiality issue triggered by a member of staff
- A product supplied by the clinic
- The therapist no longer works at the clinic and can’t be traced to redirect the claim
And most solicitors would argue that the damage happened in your clinic and therefore it’s your responsibility.
How it can go wrong – a case study
A chiropractic clinic which had several self-employed therapists received a letter from a solicitor claiming damages for their client, who had been treated by a practitioner who had worked in the clinic but had since moved on.
The clinic owner responded by providing the solicitor with the therapist’s new address, in New Zealand, expecting them to pursue the claim with the individual responsible. The solicitor however decided to continue the claim against the clinic and was successful in securing damages, which along with legal expenses cost the owner around £50,000.
This could just as easily happen to an osteopath, could you afford to pay out if a successful claim wasn’t covered by your insurance?
Our broker, James Hallam, have been working hard with the insurers who support the iO members’ policy and we can now extend your individual policy to include contingent risks arising from your business, where you have other therapists working in your clinic.
The process is simple and cost effective. Associates and other healthcare practitioners are charged at a nominal rate on a simple sliding scale based on how many full time equivalent practitioners work in the clinic. The more people you have working in the clinic, the less per individual this will cost.
In order to receive a quote for cover, insurers will require some basic common sense risk controls. Please email sandra@iOsteopathy.org and confirm the following points:
- The name of the clinic
- Please list the names and professions of practitioners who have their own insurance and work at the clinic, who you require contingent cover for
- Please confirm you have checked that all practitioners are properly qualified and, where applicable, registered to do what they do, ensuring quality controls
- Please confirm you have seen up to date copies of their insurance documents
- Please confirm you have some form of contractual arrangements making each therapist responsible for their own clinical activities
- Please confirm that all clinicians working with you have not had any claims or complaints against them in the past
- Which date you would like cover to start from
Please inform your practitioners that they are required to continue maintaining their own indemnity after they leave you in case a claim is made in the future for events that took place whilst they were working with you.
If you have any queries or we can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here from 8.30am to 5.30 pm, Monday to Friday so give us a call or email us. Email sandra@iOsteopathy.org or telephone 01582 488455