If an accident happened in the street… would you help?
As a qualified first aider, you feel compelled to assist, but protecting yourself legally won’t be at the front of your mind. Unfortunately, legal action against a first aider is possible and even if you are wrongly accused, defending yourself could be very worrying and expensive.
The good news is that a new low cost insurance policy could give you the peace of mind that whenever you give first aid you are fully insured. With ‘no win, no fee’ litigation on the increase in the UK it’s sensible to protect yourself.
- Insured for any mistakes you may make whilst giving first aid
- Insured for giving first aid at work, at home or in the street
- Insured for administering first aid anywhere in the world (first aid guidelines and laws differ from country to country but rest assured that you are covered)
- Insured for accusations of sexual misconduct whilst administering first aid
- Insured for administering first aid to a child (including someone else’s child)
- Insured for someone having an allergic reaction to a plaster you administered
- Insured to move a vehicle to gain access to the casualty
Why would a first aider need insurance?
A1. Litigation is on the increase and society is looking for targets to take the blame. It is however unlikely that a Court would find a first aider guilty of performing first aid even if the outcome of their activities proved fruitless. That is not to say that an injured or grieving party would not seek personal redress via solicitors etc. In this case, insurance can give you peace of mind in the knowledge that someone is on your side for your defence.
A2. If you receive payment for first aid activities, i.e. Event Cover, then you are no longer simply being a ‘Good Samaritan’. In this situation you may be expected to perform to a higher standard. You are also more likely to administer first aid and the severity of any injuries may be greater. Collectively, these inherently increase the risk of litigation.
Surely our company’s insurance covers our first aiders?
A. Although your employer will have Employers’ Liability insurance, it does not normally cover the provision of professional services carried out by their employees outside of firm’s time. This is especially true if the insurance company is unaware of these activities. Employers’ Liability insurance covers injury/illness sustained by the employee for negligence on the part of the Employer. Insurance not only needs to cover first aid administered to employees, but also to other visitors to the workplace, i.e. customers. We would recommend that you get confirmation in writing that your policy adequately covers all of your activities in this respect.
Even if you are covered under your Employer’s Liability policy, this does not clear you from risk. You may still be liable for your own negligence (not theirs); you may even be required to compensate your employer for damages paid to a claimant if his Insurers decide to subrogate (claim back their losses from you).
The only way to ensure that you’re covered for your professional acts is to have your own policy, issued in your name. Because the policy is issued in your name, many possible conflicts of interest between you and your employer may be eliminated in the event of a claim.
Why would a first aid trainer need insurance?
There are many good reasons for having insurance, first aid is not an exact science and is open to interpretation. Certain areas are subjective; one trainer may emphasize a topic where another trainer may not. This all exposes areas for potential litigation.
Many situations could give rise to complaint/claim – for example, a trainee misinterprets an instruction which leads to the trainee incorrectly performing first aid on a casualty. Trainee could then try and blame the trainer for inadequate teaching/information.
Many potential complaints can arise during a training session. For example. You instruct a trainee to demonstrate the recovery position on a fellow trainee. During the procedure a trainee injures his/her back resulting in potential litigation.
Are there any pitfalls changing from my present insurer?
A.Your main concern should be the provision of run off cover for previous work performed as most cover currently available is on a claims-made basis. You should select the option for retroactive cover for a small additional premium which will get around this problem. If you have not held insurance before and are new then there would be no need to purchase retroactive cover. Claims made policies enable you to increase cover year on year, whereas occurrence policies offer a fixed cover. However claims made policies don’t always offer unlimited run off and some charge you each year after you have ceased the policy so can prove expensive in the long term.
How much should I insure for?
A.There is no predicting how claims awards and costs will escalate in years ahead. As your policy is on a claims occurring basis, we would recommend insuring for the highest amount available (presently £5m) as this is the amount that will deal with any claims which may surface years in the future.
Malpractice policies only cover your legal liability for negligence, they wont cover criminal allegations such as sexual impropriety, assault, alleged theft etc. The Legal package which is unique to us, picks these up and also delivers Jury Service cover, Inland Revenue investigation protection, free helplines and advicelines not previously available in schemes for the first aider and trainer insurance schemes.
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