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Home > Topics > EMS Advocacy
December 22, 2009
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The Legal Guardian
by David Givot

Provider Insurance: Convenience or Necessity?

By David Givot

I am often asked whether EMS providers should carry their own professional liability insurance. The short answer is: YES!!!

EMS is the only profession I can think of where the provider places his or her license to practice and livelihood on the line and dares the world to take it away — every shift.

Unlike other walks of life, EMS providers earn a living from the unknown. You never know from minute to minute what is going to happen next. With that comes wondering whether a simple and unpredictable twist of fate will cause your world to come crashing down on you.

For that and dozens of other reasons, I say you can't have too much insurance. Professional liability insurance is relatively inexpensive and offers much needed peace of mind. However, there are a couple of things to consider when buying a policy.

1. Make sure the policy covers legal representation. Some policies only cover damage awards and that won't help when you have spent your life savings to defend yourself.

2. Check to see if the policy will cover all aspects of your job; from malpractice to non-patient care issues like driving or harassment claims.

3. Be clear about how your professional liability policy will effect or be affected by other coverage such as homeowner or automobile insurance.

Another concern is that lawyers often look for insurance when determining who to sue. Unfortunately, that is very common and many providers have told me that is why they won't carry insurance. While that thought process may be logical, it is not entirely practical. If a lawyer decides to come after you because you have insurance, you have insurance for that and your carrier will fight hard not to pay. On the other hand, if something happens and you are not insured, you could find yourself living a country song when you lose your job, your truck, your house...and maybe your dog.

About the author

David Givot, Esq., graduated from the UCLA Center for Prehospital Care (formerly DFH) in June 1989 and spent most of the next decade working as a Paramedic responding to 911 in Glendale, CA, with the (then BLS only) fire department. By the end of 1998, he was traveling around the country working with distressed EMS agencies teaching improved field provider performance through better communication and leadership practices. David then moved into the position of director of operations for the largest ambulance provider in the Maryland. Now, back in Los Angeles, he has earned his law degree and is a practicing Defense Attorney still looking to the future of EMS. In addition to defending EMS Providers, both on the job and off, he has created TheLegalGuardian.com as a vital step toward improving the state of EMS through information and education designed to protect EMS professionals - and agencies - nationwide. David can be contacted via e-mail at david.givot@ems1.com.
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