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If you’ve lived enough years on this earth or ever had an accident, you’ve likely gone through a program of physical therapy. Physical therapists play a crucial role in helping us recover from an accident or surgery, or deal with an ongoing, chronic condition. They help us regain strength and function so that we can return to our everyday lives with less pain.
Physical therapists are not perfect. A few might even be unskilled or insufficiently diligent. If you suffer an injury during a physical therapy session, it could be the result of negligence and grounds for a medical malpractice claim. The elderly, including nursing home residents, are especially vulnerable as they have a weaker bone structure and are more susceptible to fractures and dislocations. One study found that the most severe injuries reported in medical malpractice claims occurred in nursing homes.
A summary of cases appearing in the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) for 2010 indicated there were 1,014 malpractice claims made against physical therapists over the previous 20 years. During that same period of time, doctors had 260,633 cases brought against them. While the number of physical therapist cases may seem tiny when compared to cases against physicians, the data in the summary showed that a steady rise in malpractice claims for physical therapists had been happening since the early 1990s.
This rise may be related to the increased autonomy of physical therapists, who often practice without working under the direct supervision of a doctor. Because of this factor, a physical therapist needs the critical skills of screening the patient and providing a differential diagnosis (that is, differentiating between two or more conditions that share similar symptoms) in order to prescribe and carry out the correct therapy regimen for an individual patient.
In physical therapy cases reviewed from 1991 through 2004, 77 percent of medical malpractice cases involved treatment-related situations. The five most frequently-cited categories for claims were:
Physical therapists must be licensed to practice in South Carolina and can be held liable for medical malpractice. All medical malpractice cases hinge on a number of elements, regardless of the medical professional involved. You must prove that:
When someone you love has been hurt, it can feel like nothing will ever be right or fair again. When this happens, the South Carolina medical malpractice lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm can review your legal options and work with you to determine the most appropriate next step.
If you or someone you care about has been injured by the carelessness of a medical professional, you should speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney like the ones at the Louthian Law Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys can help you evaluate your case, protect your legal right to the courts, stand by your side throughout the legal process, and get you the best possible results. For a free consultation, call us today toll free at (803) 454-1200, or use our confidential online form. Louthian Law Firm. Seeking truth. Securing justice.