You chose the chiropractic profession to help people enjoy a life free from pain and discomfort. But in performing your complex, specialized services, you’re also at risk of being sued by a dissatisfied patient. Two of the most common lawsuits that chiropractors may face are negligent spinal manipulation and failure to diagnose a condition. If this happens to you, you need to be able to protect your professional reputation, as well as your finances, offices, and other assets.

For these reasons, it’s essential to carry quality malpractice insurance designed specifically for chiropractic practices. You may also hear this coverage referred to as Professional Liability Insurance or Chiropractic Liability Insurance among your peers.  

While malpractice insurance for chiropractors may not be a legal requirement in your state (though it may be a business requirement where you work), it’s definitely a smart investment. You can buy this type of insurance directly from a company or insurance program or through an agent/broker. You can also buy it through your employer if you work in someone else’s practice.

It’s unfortunate but true that we live in a time when malpractice lawsuits against healthcare practitioners are commonplace. If you find yourself at the receiving end of a lawsuit from a dissatisfied patient and don’t carry chiropractic malpractice insurance, everything you’ve worked for professionally could be wiped out with the stroke of a judge’s pen. So let’s explore your best malpractice coverage solutions.

What Type of Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance Should You Choose?

There are actually two types of malpractice insurance available for practitioners like you: Occurrence coverage and Claims-made coverage. Both are designed to cover your legal expenses if, for example, a patient claims your chiropractic treatment caused them chronic pain or you’re accused of negligence or mistakes in the care you provided.  But there are important differences you should know.

Occurrence Coverage — Covers you for incidents occurring in a policy year, even if the claim is reported to the carrier after the policy end date and/or you stop practicing.

Claims-Made Coverage — Covers you only during the policy period and only for claims made during the policy period. If a claim is filed after the policy end date, you are not covered.

To learn more about these two coverage types, read our article on Occurrence vs. Claims-made coverage.

Adding Tail Coverage to Increase Your Risk Mitigation

Now that you understand the difference between the two types of malpractice insurance, you’re probably wondering if there’s anything you can do to shore up your protection, especially if you choose a Claims-made policy. In fact, there is.

Many chiropractors choose to ask their employer or insurance company about Tail Coverage to ensure they’re fully protected. If needed for your situation, you can purchase this policy through the same insurance provider or agent/broker you use for your malpractice insurance.

Here’s a quick explanation:

Tail Coverage — This type of liability coverage is typically purchased through your previous insurance carrier in order to extend protection on a Claims-made policy once it is fully cancelled. It is sometimes referred to as an Extended Reporting Period Endorsement. These are also available as stand-alone policies. Ask your insurer for more details.

I Already Have General Liability Insurance — Isn’t That Enough?

The short answer is no. If you already carry, or are considering, General Liability Insurance, you may be wondering why this type of policy isn’t adequate for your needs. While it’s essential for chiropractors to carry General Liability Insurance, it is designed to protect against certain business risks, such as potential property damage or personal liabilities.

On the other hand, malpractice insurance covers professional liability risks that occur during practice, such as accusations of negligence in your treatment of patients, which can severely impact your reputation, your finances, and your future earning potential.

Here are a few examples of what General Liability Insurance covers:

  • A patient tripping over a barrier in your parking lot and breaking their arm
  • Your employee knocks into a patient in the hall, causing them injury
  • Personal liabilities (slander, copyright infringement, etc.)
  • Property damage repair/replacement

What Other Business Insurance Do Chiropractors Need?

Malpractice insurance aside, many chiropractors are also business owners. As such, you need to consider the same types of coverage as any other service business. Below are 4 other types of insurance to explore. Be sure to discuss all options with your insurance provider or broker/agent.

  1. If you have employees, look into Workers’ Compensation Insurance
    Most states require worker’s compensation insurance to cover costs associated with employee work-related injuries. Also keep in mind, if you’re a sole proprietor, it can also cover you for your own work injury costs that health insurance might deny.
  2. If you own a facility, look into a Business Owner’s Policy
    This policy bundles commercial property insurance and general liability coverage under one plan. A BOP is often the most cost-effective type of commercial insurance for chiropractors. Slip-and-fall accidents, damaged patient property, business property damage and theft are all examples of covered incidents.
  3. If you want protection from patient data theft, look into Cyber Liability Insurance
    This policy helps chiropractic offices survive data breaches and cyberattacks by paying for resulting liability, including recovery expenses, fraud monitoring expenses, and the expense of notifying your patients about a breach. Some malpractice insurance plans (like those offered by ChiroPreferred) will include Cyber Liability Insurance in your policy. Be sure to ask if this protection is included with your malpractice coverage and how much.
  4. If you use company vehicles, look into Commercial Auto Insurance
    Most states require commercial auto insurance for vehicles owned by a chiropractic office. It helps cover the cost of an accident involving your business vehicle as well as damage caused by your vehicle, medical bills from an auto accident, and vehicle theft and/or vandalism.

What to Consider When Choosing a Malpractice Insurance Carrier

There’s no question that the cost of malpractice insurance coverage can be a major expense throughout your career. When you start shopping for this important protection, it’s wise to work with an insurance provider with a record of financial stability and who is experienced in the chiropractic profession. That way, you find the most cost-effective and comprehensive coverage you can get.

Additionally ask how they can assist you with risk management and suggest ways to prevent malpractice lawsuits in the first place. If you want to compare quotes now, be sure to check out this guide to malpractice insurance pricing.

This document should not be construed as medical or legal advice and should not be construed as rules or establishing a standard of care. Because the facts applicable to your situation may vary, or the laws applicable in your jurisdiction may differ, please contact your attorney or other professional advisors if you have any questions related to your legal or medical obligations or rights, state or federal laws, contract interpretation, or other legal questions.

ChiroPreferred is the marketing name used to refer to the chiropractic-related products offered by MedPro Group. MedPro Group is the marketing name used to refer to the insurance operations of The Medical Protective Company, Princeton Insurance Company, PLICO, Inc. and MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group. All insurance products are underwritten and administered by these and other Berkshire Hathaway affiliates, including National Fire & Marine Insurance Company. Product availability is based upon business and/or regulatory approval and may differ among companies.

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