Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Malpractice

Physical therapy and rehabilitation are used to treat patients suffering from illness, disease, or injury. An experienced physical therapist (PT) can improve mobility, strength, flexibility, coordination, endurance, and even reduce pain. The main objective of physical therapy is to restore, maintain, or promote optimal physical function. Physicians and physical therapists create individualized therapy plans to address each patient’s needs.

A PT has a responsibility to each patient to fully evaluate their signs and symptoms. To diagnose and treat the patient so that they benefit from physical therapy, a PT must be thorough and concise. The primary goal of physical therapy is to help improve an individual’s physical health. Injuries may occur during physical therapy sessions for a variety of reasons including the physical therapist's unfamiliarity with the patients, inadequate supervision, or broken equipment. 

If you or a family member has been injured while receiving physical therapy services, it is important to understand the medical necessity of physical therapy and its associated risks. Also, be aware that your physical therapist must be licensed by the state to ensure he/she is qualified to perform physical therapy. Injuries can easily occur when your physical therapist is negligent. For elderly patients, these injuries can be even more dangerous because of their weak bones and other presenting medical conditions. 

Improper techniques are the most common reason for a malpractice report. Other common examples of physical therapist malpractice include:

  • Dropping patients
  • Leaving patients unattended on equipment
  • Failure to supervise
  • Using broken equipment
  • Sexual assault
  • Over-extending joints
  • Failing to inform patients of risks

Some of the most severe consequences of negligence in physical therapy are lower back injuries, spinal cord issues, and strokes. It is of the utmost importance that individuals providing physical therapy are vigilant of the potential harm that can be done during therapy sessions. 

A court of law can hold a physical therapist responsible/liable for error, omission, or negligent act that results in harm. Civil litigation and professional discipline are two tools that can help reduce medical errors by holding physical therapists responsible for their actions. A successful negligence case against a physical therapist requires you to prove the following elements:

  1. The PT owed you a duty
  2. Breached the standard of care
  3. The breach caused harm to you, and
  4. There was actual harm or “damages” to you

If you or a family member suffered an injury at the hands of a physical therapist, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let our experts review the facts. You may have a medical malpractice case. If we decide to accept your case, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee for representation unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds made on your behalf.