I want to create an online course to help users overcome their anxiety issues what could I be liable for / how to protect myself
I am looking to create an online course that helps people overcome their anxiety issues that is accessible to anyone worldwide. I am a Certified Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness / Meditation teacher and would be looking at helping guide these users through a self-help method that I have perfected. There will be no 1 on 1 communication so its not a traditional therapy. I can't seem to find any insurance and insurers don't really seem to understand what I am asking for so I am wondering if its even an issue? I can see that there are similar facilities already in place out there, for example, Mind Valley & the Calm app.
The issues I am wondering about is, would I be liable under a malpractice claim if I put disclaimers in front saying that they use this information at their own risk? Is there any other ways I can protect myself?
3 attorney answers
Wow, I am sorry no one has given you sound counsel, Meditation and Hypnotherapy have both been long recognized as excellent therapy tools. I am confident that someone with training and intelligence could create an on-line course that could be helpful to overcome stress and anxiety. Will that be you, I don't know, but I do know enough to not pre-judge someone and give them a chance. First, you should meet with a WA licensed attorney to discuss your idea in private (and not on a public forum such as AVVO where anyone can take your ideas and use or abuse them) and let the attorney give you solid advice. Second, if you are serious about this, you probably want to form a company of some sort to separate your personal assets from any liability your company may become entangled in (and I am not saying your company may become entangled in any unique liability, but any company faces risks and forming a company is usually always a good idea). Third, I suggest you develop a business plan, possibly get a couple of investors to be able to afford filing for protection for the intellectual property (IP) you develop (IP attorney, copyright, non-disclosure agreements, trademark, provisional patent application), fourth find some mentors and others in your field, or related fields of mental health with similar interests to review your course, tweak, improve, vet, your course, fifth, collect data, success stories, feedback loops, survey monkey, continuous improvement, sixth, get rich and give back to your community. I wish you well.
Peace be with you, and may love guide you.
People who cause horrible injuries to others through their horrible negligence often disclaim their horrible liability, which doesn't mean they're not liable, it merely means they want to lie about their liability.
Disclaimers are ineffective in this kind of situation. If someone relies on your therapeutic advice and is damaged by virtue of that reliance, you could be held responsible and liable. Your best bet is Errors and Omissions Insurance.
Attorney answers to questions are for general, informational purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship