How Can Canadian Social Workers Prevent Lawsuits?

Helping hand shakes another in an agreementBecause of the nature of your work, being a social worker comes with a few pitfalls. As a result, it is not uncommon to see social workers having to defend themselves in court.

If you are a Canadian social worker, then learning how to prevent someone from filing a lawsuit against you is of the utmost importance. To make the process a little bit easier for you, EasyCover has compiled a few helpful tips for you to go over.

  • Know that you can’t totally prevent a lawsuit. Here’s the thing: Don’t let this fact discourages you. Doing everything in your power to avoid lawsuits is still tremendously important. But people are people, and sometimes they like to bring others to court. There’s nothing that you can do about this except brace yourself for the worst-case scenario and keep being a stellar social worker.
  • Choose your words carefully. When you say something, mean it. Imprecise wording has been the cause of several lawsuits in the past. Don’t let it become the cause of your lawsuit as well.
  • Don’t judge. As a social worker, you should always remain unbiased. Never offer comments that others may deem as inappropriate and likewise, always try to speak in as neutral a voice as possible when dealing with sensitive topics. Also abstain from characterizing people broadly unless there is enough evidence to characterize them.
  • Document, document and document. In every profession, we can’t stress enough the importance of documenting EVERYTHING. Many times in the past proper documentation has changed the outcome of a court case. If you are ever brought to court, documents may well prove to be your lifeline.
  • NEVER befriend your clients, current or past. There is a difference between being kind to your clients while working with them and actively seeking a relationship with them outside of work. The latter can lead to disastrous consequences.
  • Be covered under the right insurance policies. As a Canadian social worker, you might want to consider purchasing a professional liability insurance policy for social workers if you aren’t covered under one already. The latter protects you financially from claims made against you and is absolutely necessary in today’s world.


Professional Liability Insurance/PLI

(Errors and Omissions Insurance)

  • Flawed professional advice and services that may have resulted in financial loss to the customer or client.
  • Protects professional individuals or companies from responsibility of the full cost of defending against a negligence claim and damages awarded in such a civil lawsuit.
    • Professional liability insurance covers the costs of judgments, settlements and legal defense.
    • Damages paid under a professional liability policy are typically financial rather than physical.