A Hands-On Guide to
Massage Therapy Insurance

Preventing Massage Liability Claims

Preventing Massage Liability Claims

The fact is massage therapists and spa owners are increasingly in danger of being sued, according to Massage and Body Work New browser window icon.. Dealing with a lawsuit on top of maintaining and operating your business is a tremendous burden, even for those most prepared. When a business owner is unexpectedly hit with a lawsuit, they have to find and consult a lawyer, get familiar with court proceedings and the general legal process, and stay informed on the status of the case, all while managing everyday worries. Simply put, it can be overwhelming.

That's why it's important to do what you can to prevent liability claims. An effective risk management plan allows massage therapists to reduce the possibility of lawsuits and helps them plan for worst-case scenarios. Even though there's no way to mitigate your risks entirely, you can get pretty close with the following three tips.

1. Create Procedures for Limiting Massage Therapy Risks

These procedures are crucial for any business offering health services to the public, but especially so for massage therapists. They should detail how the building and equipment is maintained and cleaned, the proper code of conduct for therapists, and how therapists should interact with guests.

An independent therapist or spa should have documented policies that describe the protocol for…

There should also be policies in place for managing customer complaints, sexual harassment, and other workplace issues that may arise.

Creating policies for interacting with clients can help reduce your practice's liability exposures.

The important thing here is to document, document, document. Document that you and your employees have read the policies in case you ever have to go to court. Showing that your business follows strict, documented procedures can go a long way toward supporting your defense.

Creating policies for interacting with clients can help reduce your practice's liability exposures.

2. Follow Best Practices for Hiring and Training Massage Therapists

When adding therapists to your team, you need to know that they'll provide the level of expertise and professionalism that you expect. Employing a therapist who you barely know is a huge liability. At the end of the day, your spa may be held accountable for their actions.

To reduce the risk of lawsuits, implement careful hiring practices from the outset. Establish the qualifications you expect candidates to have, such as…

  • Licensure.
  • National certification.
  • Membership in a professional organization.
  • Proof of liability insurance.
  • Hours of education and experience.

Having a set of prerequisites will help you narrow down the number of suitable candidates from the get-go. From there, you should…

  • Conduct a personal interview.
  • Observe them in a hands-on assessment.
  • Check their references.
  • Check their criminal background.

Performing these steps will give you a good idea about who the candidate is and if they would make a good addition to your team. It will also give you an idea about any potential liabilities they may bring.

After you choose a therapist, procedures come in handy. Again, document that your new hire has been trained and educated in the appropriate policies and procedures and that you have signed off on their training.

Be sure to check a potential hire's licensure, certification, and insurance before offering them a job.

For more information on risk management strategies and hiring new therapists, read, "Spa Legal Liability: How to Hire Well and Protect Your Business" New browser window icon..

3. Understand How Legal Advice and Insurance Can Offset Massage Malpractice Risks

Sometimes, a business might find it worthwhile to get outside help in assessing its liabilities and creating a risk management plan. You can hire a lawyer to help you create patient forms and employee policies, or have a consultant review your business liabilities and create relevant strategies. And it's always a good idea to have an attorney in mind in case you are sued.

Lastly, insurance is the final line of defense in any risk management plan. By providing funds for a legal defense, it may help deter would-be plaintiffs from filing frivolous claims against your business in an attempt for easy money. And despite all your preparedness, no business is absolutely risk-free, which is why adequate insurance coverage is essential to your massage therapy business's survival.

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