Ask the legal expert ... about personal liability insurance
Attorney John Durso, Ungaretti & Harris LLP
Do you think nursing home or CCRC staff members should have their own personal liability insurance?
As a general rule, we do not recommend that they have their own personal liability insurance. This can create coverage issues as to whether the organization's insurance is the primary insurance or whether the individual employee insurance is the primary insurance.
Generally, the organization should get professional and general liability insurance that covers the operations and activities of the organization, its officers, directors, employees and volunteers when acting on behalf of the organization. This type of insurance protects the organization when claims are asserted against the organization or employees providing services that create liability.
Independent contractors or independent professionals who are brought into the organization's buildings to provide services directly to the residents — e.g. dentists, physicians, or podiatrists — should be required to have separate insurance, with the organization as an additional named insured for the services they provide.
Whenever possible, the independent third-party's insurance should be primary and the organization's own insurance secondary. The organization should always look at the insurance coverage for any outside third-party who provides services to the organization or to the organization's residents. For example, an outside third-party who comes in and does renovations to the organization's buildings may do things in a manner that causes injury to employees or residents, and you would want that liability to be covered by the independent third-party's insurance — not the senior care organization's.