If I’m thinking about starting my own home business, what do I need to do to protect myself?

UPDATED: Jan 28, 2015

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If I’m thinking about starting my own home business, what do I need to do to protect myself?

I would like to set up a website where I can offer my time(for a fee)to those with general anxiety, agoraphobia, panic attacks, etc. I want to offer advice and/or act as a sounding board for those who need someone to listen. I do have a background in psychology but I have no license to practice counseling. I do not want to advertise this as counseling, but as a support for those struggling. Would I be crossing and legal boundaries here?

Asked on January 28, 2015 under Business Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your plan entails considerable potential liability: if any of those you advise or counsel harm themselves or others as a result of your advice, or forego getting treatment from a licensed professional because they are being counseled by you, and that causes them harm, you could be sued for a great deal of money--there is a reason, after all, that pyschologists, social workers, etc. maintain professional malpractice insurance.

At a minimum, if you are determined to do this, you need to first speak with an insurance agent from a reputable company and find out what sort of insurance is available to you and how it would protect from negligence or malpractice-style claims. You should also set up and conduct your practice through an LLC, though the liability protection you will receive will be limited because you would still be liable for damages proceeding from your personal tortious (or wrongful) acts; still, since the cost of an LLC is minimal, it's well worth it for any additional increment of protection.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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