When performed properly, we all know that massage can relieve stress and promote general wellness. But what happens when something goes wrong, and your client gets injured? Even if you are being extremely careful, you could still make a mistake that leads to your client getting hurt. While this is definitely an unfortunate situation, it’s not the end of the world if you have massage therapist liability insurance.
We know the thought of a liability lawsuit can be scary. That’s why we created this guide. Our goal is to help you navigate through what happens when a client gets hurt. We’ll cover what happens, how you should react, and how you can protect yourself throughout the process. Just because this story begins with tragedy doesn’t mean it has to end that way. Pay close attention as we unfold what happens when a client gets injured during a massage.
Chapter One: The Bad Day Gets Worse
If you make a mistake that causes a client’s injury, it is going to be a really bad day. Perhaps you came into the office flustered and weren’t paying attention the way you should, or you simply forgot to ask some safety questions before starting your massage session. Regardless of the reasoning, if a client is hurt by you or accuses you of causing them harm, they could turn to legal avenues of compensation.
While filing a lawsuit might not be the first that happens when a client gets hurt, it’s important to know that it’s a possibility. Let’s start back at the beginning, though. When a client is first injured, it’s imperative to get the medical help they need right away. Let a medical professional help them with their injury and worry about the rest later. Depending on the severity of their injury, it may be necessary to call an ambulance.
Once a doctor has seen them, they can begin the necessary treatments to heal their injury. At this point, they may or may not have even thought about filing a lawsuit. While this is happening, you might want to refresh yourself on your massage therapist insurance policy and brush up on your legal documents, such as liability waivers and other papers the client may have signed before seeing you. Remember, knowledge is power. You will need to arm yourself with as much information as possible.
Bonus Alert – if you suddenly realized you don’t even have an intake form, don’t sweat it, we have you covered. Download our free Massage Client Intake Form Template.
Chapter Two: The Long Road Ahead
If your client decides to sue you for their injuries, know that it will likely not happen right away. In the meantime, do not let yourself become panicked or distressed. Liability lawsuits move relatively slowly, even though an incident can occur without warning. If the lousy day worsens, remember to stay calm and prepare for the potentially long road ahead of you.
Here’s the thing about liability lawsuits: There is no formula to predict how long they will take. Some could be decided quickly, while others could drag on. After a client has decided to file a lawsuit, you will likely want to contact a lawyer of your own and call your insurance provider. Of course, do not do anything without contacting your attorney. It could be a long process ahead of you, and you will need legal advice.
From that point, it’s primarily up to the attorneys and your insurance company to try and reach a conclusion. During that time, keep in close contact with your lawyer to stay informed on any updates. Maintaining communication with your legal help and insurance team is going to be a valuable asset if you are facing a general or professional liability incident.
Chapter Three: Gathering Info
Speaking of liability, let’s pause the story for a second and gather some relevant information. First, let’s talk about the liability that the lawsuit claims. There are several different types of liability, but we’ll focus on the three that are relevant to a massage therapist. Each of these types of liability is covered by MMIP as part of your massage therapist insurance policy.
Professional liability claims are those that are a result of your work as a massage therapist. Professional liability is often called errors and omissions liability because it involves a mistake made by the professional. These mistakes can be as simple as forgetting to do something you should do or doing something incorrectly, resulting in harm or injury.
At its very base, professional liability is injury or damage to property that comes as a result of the services you provide. Professional liability insurance helps protect you against a lawsuit when you make a professional error that results in a client’s injury. Because the risk of professional liability is ever present in your career, it is important to protect yourself with comprehensive massage therapist insurance.
While professional liability is correlated to your industry, general liability is unrelated to your profession. General liability is present in any environment or industry. Often called slip and fall liability, you can think of general liability as an umbrella term for accidents like trips and tumbles. Of course, any number of accidents could cause a client an injury. Whether the incident is caused by a facilities issue or another hazard, it could leave you vulnerable to a general liability claim.
Even if you did not do anything wrong, an injured client could still demand compensation for their injuries. There are many potential general liability accidents that you can proactively watch out for as a massage therapist. While there are obvious reasons, like a spill that causes the floor to be slippery, or a loose rug on the floor that a client could trip over, some may not be as easy to spot. For example, a client may trip over a crack in your sidewalk. Since it’s your property, you may be held liable for their injuries.
With general liability, it’s important to stay vigilant and do all you can to prevent potential accidents. However, even if you are careful, accidents can still happen. If it does and a client is injured under your care, be ready with general liability insurance for massage therapists.
The third form of liability that we’ll discuss is product liability. As a massage professional, you use a range of products every day. Whether it’s an oil, aromatherapy agent, or an instrument like acupuncture, the products you utilize daily can significantly impact your work. On the other hand, if a client reacts adversely to a product you use, it could have some serious consequences.
Product liability is an injury or harmful incident related to a product, tool, or aid that you use in your massage work. If a client has a bad reaction to one of your products, they may have the standing to file a claim against you under product liability. Some examples of product liability claims are allergic reactions, burns, muscular complications, and other such issues.
Unfortunately, a client may not even be aware that they have an allergy to one of your products until they suffer a poor reaction. If this happens, you will want to have protection in place.
Some of the Most Common Massage Insurance Claims
Even to the most careful instructors, accidents can and do happen everyday. As one of the top providers of massage insurance, we’ve seen a lot over the years so not that much surprises us anymore. What’s important is that our comprehensive coverage is there for whatever twist and turn your career in massage can take.
While no two situations are exactly alike, a few of the more common types of massage insurance claims that pop up include:
- A client sustains burns during a hot stone massage.
- A client alleges a back injury due to too much pressure during a massage.
- A client alleges shoulder injury from stretching during a massage.
- A massage table broke causing a client to fall to the floor and sustain injuries.
Chapter Four: Defending Yourself
Our story continues with you preparing to defend yourself against a liability lawsuit when a client gets injured during a massage. The best way to give this story a happy ending is to prepare with massage therapist insurance ahead of time. MMIP’s policy covers professional, general, and product liability and so much more. We offer comprehensive coverage to help protect your financial resources and your career if something unfortunate occurs with a client.
The time to think about insurance is before something happens. An incident can happen without warning, and the costs can increase quickly. If you are not prepared with a massage therapist insurance policy, you could end up paying it all out of pocket. MMIP helps you prepare for the “what ifs” that can come at any point in your career.
Even though an accident or injury can happen in an instant, the process may last a while. That’s why we only offer industry-preferred occurrence-form insurance. Occurrence-form insurance helps protect you beyond the term length of your policy. If an incident occurs during the time your policy is in effect, you could still be considered for coverage even if the claim is filed after the term expires. This extra grace period gives you peace of mind to know that you are securely covered.
Chapter Five: Coverage You Can Always Count On
Even if your day started out not so good and a client is injured during a massage, remember all is not lost. If you arm yourself with the knowledge and support that comes with having your own personal massage insurance policy, you don’t have to worry about a thing. With MMIP, if a client is hurt, has their property damaged, or you experience another form of a covered loss, we’ll always be here to help.
Got questions about how it all works? Give us a call at 800-222-1110 or use our site’s contact form. Remember, we also have plenty of free resources like our Massage Intake Form that are ready and available to download at any time.