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Physical Therapy Malpractice

Attorneys Helping Injured Clients in Syracuse

In New York, only licensed physical therapists or certified physical therapist assistants can practice physical therapy and see patients. When you go to see your physical therapist, you’re hoping to improve your condition. Unfortunately, even well-trained physical therapists may make mistakes. These mistakes can result in significant injuries that may require additional medical care and therapy. If you believe you were injured by physical therapy malpractice, you should consult the seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Physical Therapy Malpractice

Physical therapists pay a critical part in helping patients address a chronic condition or recover from surgeries or accidents. They can assist with a patient’s regaining of function or strength, and they may address a patient’s pain. Like any other professional, physical therapists may make mistakes that cause injury to their patients. Often physical therapists practice autonomously; they may practice without working under a doctor’s direct supervision. They may need to screen and examine the patient to provide the correct therapy. Like doctors, they may make mistakes in these processes or while providing a treatment. It may be possible to hold your physical therapist accountable for injuries he or she caused through professional negligence.


In a lawsuit to hold your physical therapist liable for professional malpractice in New York, you’ll need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) your physical therapist was required to meet a particular standard of care, (2) she failed to meet that standard, (3) causation, and (4) damages. A lawyer will need to retain an expert to testify as to what standard of care should have been met, how it was not, and causation. A professional standard of care will be determined by looking at the accepted medical practices of other physical therapists in Syracuse.

The most common ways physical therapists fail to meet the standard of care are by failing to supervise patients while they’re exercising, injuring a patient while moving them therapeutically, using improper techniques, injuring a patient through the overextension of joints or limbs, or injuring a patient with thermotherapy or hot packs. For instance, an elderly patient might suffer severe fractures and complications if she was dropped by a physical therapist using an improper technique in physical therapy. For another example, a patient who went through deep adjustments that were improper for her condition might sustain herniated discs or neurological issues.

The professional standard of care may be breached where a physical therapist doesn’t modify the treatment plan to respond to a patient’s unique needs during the course of treatment. For example, if a patient has a history of back problems and surgeries and a physical therapist ignores these in favor of an aggressive treatment and thereby causes disc ruptures that require additional surgeries, this may be physical therapist malpractice.

Damages from Physical Therapy Malpractice

If we can establish your physical therapist’s liability for your injuries, we may be able to obtain compensatory damages. The compensatory damages will not cover the pre-existing injury; rather, they’re meant to compensate for losses stemming from the malpractice. Usually they include the cost of care required to repair harm done by the defendant. The amount of damages will depend on the nature of the injuries. Malpractice could result in spinal cord injuries, broken bones, fractures, strains, sprains, concussions, strokes, or heart attacks.

Damages may be both economic and noneconomic. Economic losses may include past and future medical bills including the costs of surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, replacement services and out-of-pocket costs. Noneconomic losses may include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium. It may be necessary to retain a separate expert or experts on the issue of damages.

Consult an Attorney in Syracuse

If you were injured by physical therapy malpractice, you may wish to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our lawyers provide tough and compassionate legal representation to accident victims in Rochester, Syracuse, and other cities in Upstate New York, including in Oneida, Cooperstown, Auburn, Lyons, Canandaigua, Oswego, Binghamton, Wampsville, Watertown, Ithaca, Elmira, Herkimer, Utica, and Lowville. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or by completing our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY