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9. Liabilities

9.1 A healthcare professional such as a radiographer or sonographer, as with any professional person, is liable in common law for any injury caused to a patient or client through breach of contract and acts of wilful or professional negligence whilst carrying out his or her professional duties. This is in common with all persons who hold themselves, and the services they offer, out to the public as having special skills.

  • When a practitioner is self-employed (or similar) there will be no employer that is vicariously liable. Hence, provision for professional indemnity cover for allegations of negligence must be made.
  • Independent practitioners acting as employers will be vicariously liable for the harm caused by the employees of their organisations.
  • An employer is not liable for the acts of independent contractors ie self employed (or similar status) people who are working under a contract to provide services.
  • Independent Practitioners acting as employers have a duty to their employees under health and safety laws.

9.2 The above makes it imperative that all independent practitioners ensure that they are covered in terms of professional and vicarious liabilities and third party insurance.

9.3 The SCoR provides Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) to its members but it is important that the advice is followed. Details are available from

From early 2014 it will be a legal requirement for all statutorily registered healthcare professionals to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance.17

It should be noted that the SCoR PII only covers individual members and not companies.

9.4 Independent practitioners will need to ensure that they are also covered for ‘third party’ liability, equipment damage or loss, transport of equipment and corporate insurance when running a company or business. Other forms of insurance to cover for personal illness or disability may also be advisable.

9.5 This document does not cover legal matters. Independent Practitioners are strongly advised to seek legal advice from appropriate sources to clarify the full extent of their own particular legal position and liabilities.

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