Taking Care of Liability
The Nurse's Guide to Liability Insurance and HIPAA Compliance

Chapter 2: General Liability Exposures for Nurses

Chapter 2: General Liability Exposures for Nurses

Nearly every business has some form of liability. Most of the time, the insurance industry uses the term "general liability" to talk about universal risks, such as…

  • Visitor slips, trips, and falls on commercial property.
  • Damage to someone else's property.
  • Advertising injuries (e.g., lawsuits over libel or copyright infringements).

Basically, if you break something that belongs to someone else or someone accidentally gets hurt on your premises, that's a general liability exposure. A General Liability Insurance policy can address these risks.

Need a better understanding of this kind of insurance? Here are a few examples that show when General Liability might come in handy:

  • You're a nurse practitioner who owns your own practice, and your clinic is open on a cold, snowy day. People are tracking in mud and water on your tile floor, but before somebody can get to it with a mop, a visitor slips on a puddle, falls, and breaks his arm. Luckily, you have the knowledge to treat him. Unluckily, he's angry and decides to sue over the injury.
  • You work in private homecare, and you're taking care of an elderly patient. You misjudge the distance when placing a glass of water on the patient's bedside table and end up spilling water all over her laptop computer. She's furious when the computer won't start and tells you that she had all sorts of important documents on there (e.g., tons of photos of her grandkids). She tells you to leave, and a few days later, you receive notification that you're being sued over the incident.
  • You start a travel-nursing agency and advertise for your new business. But in your advertisement, you say some untrue things about your competitor that they take personally, so they sue you, alleging you committed libel.

If you're a nurse who works in a healthcare facility as an employee, then you don't have to worry about General Liability Insurance. The facility should have its own coverage. But if you're an independent nurse contractor or a nurse practitioner operating on your own or you run a travel-nursing agency, consider purchasing a General Liability policy. Accidents happen all the time, and in the business world, they cost a pretty penny. Fortunately, getting coverage is relatively inexpensive.

For example, you can purchase a Business Owner's Policy (BOP), which bundles General Liability with Property Insurance at a reduced yearly rate. For nurses, a BOP usually starts at about $500 a year, depending on your business's characteristics. It's a small price to pay for protection against a wide range of accidents and mishaps.

General Liability Insurance protects nursing businesses when a third party sues over…

  • Slip-and-fall injuries.
  • Property damage.
  • Slander, libel, or copyright infringement.

Next: Chapter 3: Cyber Liability Exposures for Nurses

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