PHYSICAL THERAPY LIABILITY
Physical therapists provide care to individuals of all ages. Like other health care professionals, physical therapists owe a duty of care to their patients. When these duties are breached and cause injury to the patient the physical therapist can be held liable for any such damages.
Physical therapists have a duty to evaluate the safety of the physical environment in relation to a patient’s condition and therapy. This is particularly important with home care which is growing in the United States.
Because your house is not as well equipped as a clinic, there are certain additional risks with home based therapy. If a physical therapist fails to recognize a danger or chooses to ignore a danger the therapist may be liable for any harm caused to their patient. Some common dangers include slippery floors, uneven floors, unstable doors, unstable walls, throw rugs, and lighting.
At the start of any therapy session, each patient should be carefully assessed. If a patient has significant disability, the physical therapist may have a duty to use additional personnel to support and supervise the patient. Factors that need to be evaluated include weight, strength, vision and balance. Obese individuals often times present a problem for a single therapist due to movement and balance issues.
There have been numerous studies done analyzing physical therapists and claims made against them. These most interesting results are that:
- the majority of claims originate out care delivered at their offices followed by a patient’s home, hospital and nursing home;
- the largest monetary awards against physical therapists originate in claims out of care delivered in a nursing home;
- the primary injury claimed is trauma, including fractures, followed by burns and delay in recovery;
- the primary allegation was a failure to supervise treatment followed by injury during manipulation and improper technique;
- monetary awards were higher when there was a failure to report a patient’s condition, failure to provide a proper assessment and failure to follow an established policy.
Contact us online or call our office locally at 601-957-3101 if you would like to discuss your potential claim or to schedule an initial consultation. Our law firm is conveniently located in downtown Jackson, just off I-55. Parking is available behind the building.