Types of Massage Liability (and the Insurance That Helps You Manage Them)
Malpractice for Massage Professionals
Types of Malpractice Claims
To get a better sense of how a malpractice claim might occur, here are some scenarios:
- You're providing a deep-tissue massage for a client, but he's hesitant about the intensity of the massage. He tells you he has previous back injuries. As you perform the massage, he complains every once in a while about the pressure. You try your best to provide a quality therapeutic experience, but at the end of the session, the client is clearly irate. A few weeks later you receive a letter from the client's attorney, claiming that your massage instigated new back pain from his old injury, and you're being sued for malpractice.
- Your employee provides a massage session for a client, who then claims that the employee touched her inappropriately. Your employee vehemently denies the allegation, and the client does not seek charges. But she does sue your business, claiming the employee failed to act professionally and that it caused her emotional distress.
- Before giving a client a massage, you have her fill out paperwork detailing her medical history, previous injuries, and any pains or concerns she currently has. Reviewing this, you see that she might have an injury that's far more severe than she originally thought. You feel that you should refer this client to a specialist, but provide the massage anyway. A few months later, you find out you're being sued for malpractice for failing to refer the client when you noticed the injury.
These examples might be relatively uncommon experiences, but the reality is that they can and do happen to massage practitioners. Massage Today states that burns, bruises, and injuries to the neck, spine, or ribs are the reasons for most injury claims. On that note, DTLA Law Group lists the following massage therapies as having the highest probability of injuring clients:
- Deep tissue massage.
- Thai massage (walking on the patient's back).
- Hilot massage.
- Sports and athletic massages.
- Physical therapy-based massages.
- And other physically intense or strenuous techniques.
Of course, you may still choose to offer these types of therapy. But if you know that they are likely to cause injury, you can take proactive steps to reduce that chance.
Deep tissue, Thai, Hilot, and athletic massages have the highest risk of harming clients.
Next: The Limitations of Malpractice Insurance