Phlebotomists, like all allied healthcare professionals, need to carry professional liability insurance to protect themselves in the event that a claim is made against them. While the possibility of being taken to court is never pleasant to think about, it’s essential to address this scenario in advance.
Why do I Need It?
Phlebotomists are human, and thus they make mistakes. While this is reason enough to obtain liability insurance, the fact that a claim of negligence can be made against you no matter how flawlessly you perform your job makes it essential to hold a policy that will protect you.
Negligence is a rather subjective matter. It’s loosely defined as failure to provide the level of care, skill or knowledge that a peer in good standing (in this case, another phlebotomist) would provide in a similar situation. If another person isn’t pleased with your work or an outcome resulting from it, that person could sue you, no matter why they’re dissatisfied. Doing your job well is no guarantee that you’ll avoid having a claim made against you.
Even if you’re found to be free from fault, it can take years for a claim to be dismissed, and legal fees can be crippling. That’s where professional liability insurance comes to the rescue—it helps to alleviate the financial burden that goes hand in hand with being involved in legal proceedings.
When do I Need It?
In short, you need liability insurance any time that you’re practicing phlebotomy, whether full time, part time or as a student. Many employers require that phlebotomists carry their own liability insurance policies, as do many phlebotomy schools and training programs. Regardless, it’s wise to be covered by such a policy before you begin the hands-on part of your training.
What Does it Cover?
Although professional liability policies differ from company to company and even policy to policy, most policies share a few common traits, including coverage for:
- actual negligence or errors
- alleged negligence or errors
- defense costs such as attorney fees
Professional liability insurance policies are generally divided into two categories: claims-made polies (also known as prior acts coverage) and occurrence policies. A claim-made policy covers you if a claim is made against you while the policy is in effect, regardless of when the incident that sparked it occurred. An occurrence policy protects you from claims made regarding any incident that takes place during the life of your policy, even if your policy has expired by the time the claim is made.
Since each policy is different, be sure you know exactly what you’re getting. Ask questions about your deductible and exactly what applies toward it, as well as any details you don’t understand.
Where Can I Get It?
A good place to start looking for a liability insurance policy is any insurance company you know and trust. Many auto and home insurance companies also offer professional liability policies and you may be able to purchase one from a company you’re already comfortable with.
Many professional organizations offer plans for their members to purchase, often at group rates that offer considerable financial savings. Some employers also offer this option. Others in the medical field, even if they’re not in phlebotomy, can often offer recommendations if you’re not sure where to start.
Regardless of where you look, shop around a little bit to be sure you’re getting a good rate. And, don’t procrastinate! Liability insurance offers phlebotomists protection they can’t afford to go without.