Examples of Medical Malpractice in Physical Therapy

Posted on: April 12, 2019

Medical malpractice is one of the most unfortunate things you can experience in your life. You put your health or even your life in the hands of professionals who are supposed to know what they are doing. Medical malpractice claims in the US have been on the rise, with payments for claims rising to around 42 million dollars between 2011 and 2015.

What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice by a Physical Therapist?

Medical malpractice happens when the physical therapists on duty fail to provide the appropriate standard of care due to negligence and carelessness. The damages caused by these malpractice incidents are divided into three types:

  • Economic Damages: This refers to quantifiable costs such as medical bills and lost income due to the inability to go to work.
  • Non-economic Damages: This refers to the non-quantifiable damages such as pain, suffering, inconvenience, disfigurement, physical impairment, and trauma.
  • Punitive Damages: This can be awarded to patients who can prove either malice or fraud by the medical professional.

Some therapists try to book as many appointments as possible and rush through all the sessions, resulting in their patients not receiving the best possible care and attention. Another instance of medical malpractice in physical therapy would be when a patient is doing an exercise in an improper fashion or form without being corrected by the therapist. Failure to inform, listen or supervise patients are some of the most common reasons for pain after physical therapy.

There are worse cases wherein a therapist’s actions directly cause the injury. Examples of these scenarios include dropping patients during specific exercises, over-extension of limbs, failure to modify the physical therapy plan for weaker patients, or exploiting their patients.

It is highly recommended that you check records to see if your physical therapist has a history of malpractice or show signs of a bad physical therapist. You can do this by checking out your county’s court cases, referrals from doctors and previous patients, and reviews on various trusted physical therapy websites.

What Injuries Can One Sustain Due to Negligent Physical Therapists?

Patients can suffer from severe pain after physical therapy and add to the ones they already have. Listed below are some of the types of personal injury an individual can experience due to a negligent physical therapist:

  • Broken bones
  • Strains, sprains, and muscle soreness
  • Additional revision surgeries
  • Puncture wounds or open bleeding
  • Concussion
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Lower back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Strokes and heart attacks

The negligence of a physical therapist can result in additional medical expenses, or, during worst-case scenarios, result in the wrongful death of a patient. Under these circumstances can a physical therapist be held liable for damages.

How Do You Prove Negligence Against a Physical Therapist?

Filing malpractice cases against physical therapists are more difficult than typical injury claims. Specific state laws require certain prerequisites, from filing an affidavit from a medical expert to declaring caps on the amount of damages available to the plaintiff. When you do get these, there are still a number of things you have to prove before having a strong case.

You will first have to prove that your physical therapist was unable to provide the amount of care necessary that another physical therapist with the same level of experience could have provided in similar circumstances. To do this, you will have to find a practicing physical therapist or any other experts in that field to testify for what the standards of practice are and whether your physical therapist was able to provide them adequately. You will then have to prove that your injury was explicitly caused by your physical therapy sessions with the professional in question. The last thing you have to determine would be the degree to which you were injured due to the negligence of the therapist.

There are some incidents when physical therapists are merely following assessments determined by a treating physician. Even if they are licensed health care professionals and should be capable of identifying the proper procedures for your injury, they have to go by what your physician recommends. If this is the case, the physician should also be sued in the same lawsuit.

Seek Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Physical therapists are expected to maintain a level of professionalism at all times. Patients pay a lot of good money to get proper treatment to recover as quickly as possible. To commit any degree of medical malpractice is unacceptable. After all, these acts of carelessness and negligence can result in additional injury to a patient already seeking aid.

Never pursue your claims and reach for a settlement on your own when dealing with medical malpractice cases. If you are a victim of substandard medical practices and require legal assistance, contact the skilled and experienced medical malpractice attorneys of Mesriani Law Group. As one of the most prolific law firms in Los Angeles, our services offer a free consultation and follow a No Win No Fee guarantee to all our clients because we are confident that our experience and dedication will bring you towards the justice you deserve.