No one plans to get sued, but every massage therapist should protect themselves against malpractice lawsuits by purchasing massage liability insurance. Insurance is the kind of thing people tend to think they don’t think they need until they need it, but you’re smarter than that. Protecting your assets against future mistakes is a worthwhile investment. Without it, you risk everything you’ve worked so hard for.
Massage therapy liability insurance is affordable and easy to acquire. Let’s take a look at how massage therapy liability insurance works, what kind you need, and where to get it.
Massage insurance works as a safeguard for massage therapists, combining general and professional liability insurance to cover legal fees and medical bills, potentially saving you and your massage business from bankruptcy in the event of a lawsuit. This comprehensive coverage is essential for practicing therapists.
If a lawsuit is brought against you, your massage liability or malpractice insurance will pay for damages. Without it, if you’re held liable, you’re paying with your hard earned cash and putting your assets at risk.
Massage liability insurance defends you from a lawsuit stemming from your negligence as a massage therapist. Both your actions OR inactions can land you in legal hot water. In the event that you are sued and held liable for a client’s misfortune, your massage liability insurance will foot the bill.
There are 2 types of liability insurance you should consider.
This article focuses primarily on professional liability insurance, also known as massage therapy malpractice insurance or massage therapy liability insurance. We’ll also touch on best practices for commercial general liability insurance for massage therapists.
Commercial general liability insurance is the slip and fall type of insurance. It covers accidents that happen outside your control. It protects you from things like people slipping on the front sidewalk, a table breaking, or the client fainting and hurting themselves.
If you own a massage therapy business, you need general liability insurance. This will protect you from accidents on the premises, outside of treatment. If you are an employee at someone else’s business, you don’t need this type of insurance. Your employer is responsible for that.
Professional liability insurance protects you from a lawsuit due to bodily injury from a treatment. Your first thought might be, “I’d never hurt someone during a massage.” However, it’s far more likely that a massage therapist ends up in legal trouble for their “non-actions” or the actions of others.
This might be due to a failure to ask the right questions before treatment - like not asking about contraindications. It could also be due to the result of mistreatment by another practitioner.
It’s smart for ALL practicing massage therapists to have professional liability insurance. It’s crucial for self-employed massage therapists to have this coverage because it’s their only protection.
If you’re a massage therapist employed by a health and wellness business, your employer should have liability insurance that covers all their employees - but I wouldn’t risk it. In the event that you are held personally liable for bodily injury, you should have your own liability insurance - just in case.
Because you’re human, and humans make mistakes. Massage therapy liability insurance protects you if you slip up. It only takes one slip up, in an otherwise perfect practice, to get you in trouble. If you don’t have liability insurance, your personal assets are at risk.
Here’s an example of why you need massage insurance.
Your client, Susan, visited her chiropractor right before her appointment with you. The chiropractic adjustment she received exacerbated a serious condition in her back. When Susan arrives at your clinic, she’s having a flare-up. Susan doesn't yet realize it’s been made worse by her chiropractic care. She’s just hoping to feel better after her massage.
You treat Susan, and send her on her way. The next day, Susan is in so much pain she can’t get out of bed. Her doctor says her back was worsened by the manual manipulation, which is contraindicated by her condition. It’s going to take weeks of physical therapy and a cortisone injection to undo the damage. Even then, she might not be 100%.
Both you and the chiropractor can potentially be held liable for this. Massage therapy liability insurance protects you in these types of situations.
A lawsuit being brought against you might be unlikely, but it could happen. Just like any other type of insurance, massage therapy liability insurance protects you and your assets. If there’s one thing in life you can count on, it’s that there’s always something unexpected right around the corner.
The cost of professional liability insurance for massage therapists can vary depending on factors such as coverage limits, policy type, and the insurance provider. Most massage liability insurance plans are less than $200 a year. Prices are low because the risk of causing major injury via massage is low.
Joining a massage therapy organization is the most common way massage therapists obtain liability insurance. The cost can be between $80-$235 a year. When you join an organization, you’re not just buying insurance. The insurance is just one of many benefits you get as a member. You may also get free or discounted courses, services and periodicals. Plus you support an organization working to support the massage therapy profession as a whole.
Most professional massage therapy organizations offer liability insurance to their members. This is the most common way massage therapists obtain liability insurance. That’s because being a part of organizations like the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) or Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) come with a whole bundle of benefits, in addition to insurance.
Another option is to contact your insurance provider. The company you already have other insurance plans through may offer professional and commercial liability insurance too. There are also several companies, like LMI Canada Insurance, that have plans specifically for massage therapists. Shop around to find the best plan for you.
The best way to avoid a client taking legal action against you is to document everything and take time to ask questions. If someone comes to see you with an injury you’re not comfortable treating or is a contraindication for treatment, say no. Then, refer them to the appropriate medical professional.
Require every client to fill out intake and consent forms. Create an intake form that lists contraindications for massage therapy. Have clients update their intake forms on an annual basis and when they have a change in their health.
Design your massage therapy treatment plan around the needs of your client, and document the whole process in SOAP Notes. If you don’t have a SOAP Note template, you can download this one for free.
Having signed consent forms and documenting your treatment can protect you if your treatment comes into question. Not only that, taking the time to do these things helps ensure you don’t make any mistakes along the way.
Use practice management software, like ClinicSense, to create custom digital intake forms and consent forms that are automatically sent to clients when they book an appointment. This helps ensure you get the important health information you need before treatment.
Use the software to create SOAP Notes swiftly and efficiently. Using custom digital SOAP Notes makes documenting treatment easy, organizing notes automatic, and storing health information safe and secure. All essential components to avoiding malpractice lawsuits.