No massage therapist really wants to think about it, but a client could file a lawsuit claiming damages or injury due to negligence or incompetence on the part of the professional massage therapy practitioner. Professional liability insurance, also known as malpractice insurance, covers this type of claim. Having malpractice insurance is common to many other public health professionals, such as doctors, and many do not question its relevance in such a profession.
While professional liability for massage therapists is not necessarily a new concept, the need for having it has grown significantly in recent years. Seven states now require professional massage therapists to carry insurance, including Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The ever-increasing popularity of massage for the mainstream consumer has grown, and, along with it, the corresponding rise in claims against LMTs.
People seek massage therapy for a number of reasons, but frequently, the main reason to seek a massage therapist relates to some current physical/emotional ailment or condition within the client. From the very beginning, the client may have a pre-existing condition that could become aggravated during or after a session, which that person may or may not consider the fault of the therapist. Sometimes clients may not be entirely forthcoming with the severity or breadth of their physical issues, which can lead to potential problems during a session. Even with full disclosure, miscommunication may occur that can lead to a client/LMT dispute over a treatment and the results of that treatment.
Of course, there is also the possibility that a therapist makes a legitimate mistake, for whatever reason. Mistakes or accidents can happen with anyone. Even the very best massage therapist can have an off day, or cause a purely accidental injury. Regardless of the circumstances, the best protection for an LMT is securing massage insurance. Like every other professional who deals with caring for the general public, massage therapists want the best for their clients. Having massage insurance can provide peace of mind, knowing that if something unexpected and unfortunate should occur, the massage insurance policy will provide the needed protection for the massage therapist and his or her practice.