The Importance of Promptly Reporting a Claim or Incident
In the daily routine of working as a Fitness Trainer or Instructor, you make every effort to provide careful, accurate instruction. You modify your approach appropriately for each client, and work hard to help them see results. Yet, despite all your best effort and determination to provide excellent service, sometimes unfavorable things happen—a client is injured and claims your training as the cause for injury, or makes an allegation of your misconduct.
How you handle an incident can have a big impact on its outcome. Never underestimate the severity of an incident—even seemingly minor incidents can turn into claims down the road. If an incident is reported in a timely manner, the insurance company can step in to assess the damages and conceivably avoid litigation, drastically reducing the cost of the claim.
In some cases, an incident can be reported as a “Report Only” incident, when appropriate. This enables you to fulfill your duty to report a potential claim to the insurance company in a timely manner, even if the injured person does not pursue the incident. The insurance company will not take further action.
Important Steps if an Incident Occurs
Here are steps you should take if you are made aware of an injury or incident that could potentially lead to a claim:
1. Provide Immediate Medical Help
Administer first aid to someone who is injured. Call 911 if necessary. Even if an injured person feels fine, encourage him or her to seek medical treatment to ensure there isn’t injury that may cause future medical problems.
2. Don’t Admit Guilt or Liability
Do not admit wrongdoing or declare responsibility for an injury or accusation. Do not make any commitments to the injured party, such as paying medical bills or other expenses. You can simply say that you’ll contact your insurance company, but details of your insurance coverage should not be discussed with the injured party or anyone else.
3. Contact Your Insurance Agent/Administrator
Timely notification of an incident helps to facilitate prompt claim reporting, saving time and money for both you and the insurance company.
4. Get the Facts
Document the circumstances of the incident. Do so immediately to help ensure accurate reporting of what happened. Delay in recording the facts can lead to uncertainty when trying to recall details at a later time. Write down as much detail of the incident that you know. If any witnesses were present, ask them to make a report of their viewpoint of the incident. These reports should be copied and given to your insurance agent.
5. Keep in Contact with the Client
If a client is injured or claims your negligence, don’t ignore the situation. Instead, maintain contact with him or her. While some types of accusations of wrongdoing won’t merit continued contact (such as an allegation of sexual misconduct) keeping in touch with the client helps offset the person’s desire to lay blame. But above all, it shows you are committed to his or her recovery and have a desire to continue a working relationship.
6. Retain Copies
Keep copies of all documents and record all conversations (even if just on paper) related to the incident. Copies should be given to the insurance agent/administrator and kept on file according to the state’s statues of limitations for claim reporting. Do not give copies of any documentation to any party other than the insurance agent—this includes the injured party or his or her representatives. Likewise, do not discuss a claim with anyone other than your insurance agent or the insurance company.
Following a strict code of conduct and exercising precision in your training and instruction will go a long way in protecting you from unforeseen incidents. But if an incident does occur, knowing how to handle it will be to your advantage.
And should an incident turn in to a full-blown claim against you, you’ll want a Professional Liability Insurance policy to protect you. Lockton Fitness Professional Liability Insurance is tailored for fitness professions and provides comprehensive coverage at group rates. Explore Lockton Fitness Professional Liability Insurance coverage today.
Thank you so much for your prompt response. Might I add, Veronica was a delight to work with and her professionalism and attention to detail made this an overall pleasurable experience.