Legal Topics of Interest to PTs and PTAs

While there is no substitute for obtaining the advice of legal counsel, general information may serve to increase one's knowledge on a particular legal matter. The following resources provide general information on a variety of topics that might be of interest to physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs).

Entering Into Contracts

Reading and understanding every word of a contract is a necessity. The article Contracts: 6 Steps to Take provides insights into the intricacies of entering into a contract. Members of the American Society of Association Executives also may review Structuring Business Relationships Through Contracts, which addresses contract negotiations and how to secure favorable contract terms. If you are looking for specific information on Understanding and Evaluating Managed Care Contracts and Fees: The Do's and Don'ts or Unraveling Medicare Advantage Plans: Successful Tips for PT Compliance and Contract Negotiation, listen to these audio conferences on APTA's website.

Informed Consent

This is an important concept. Review the article Liability Awareness: Informed Consent Tips and Caveats for PTs to learn more about what can constitute informed consent. The piece looks at both ethical and legal issues surrounding this topic.


Malpractice is topic of concern to all PTs and PTAs. Legal counsel is the first and best resource to guide a PT or PTA faced with a malpractice claim. The article Guidance in the Courtroom offers background information on issues related to malpractice. An article from the Healthcare Providers Service Organization titled How to Avoid Professional Liability Claims (.pdf) features information on common pitfalls that may expose health care providers to potential liability.

Expert/Fact Witnesses

Receiving a request, or seeking to become, a witness brings up a variety of considerations. Additional resources are available to educate PTs, PTAs, and students in this arena.

Testimonials and Endorsements

Before launching an advertising campaign highlighting positive feedback from patients/clients, consider reviewing the article Leading By Examples, which provides updated guidance on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising for general information on the legal issues surrounding these types of advertisements.

Patients and Clients Who are Impaired

There are ethical and legal issues specific to patients and clients who are impaired. The article Liability Awareness: The Impaired Patient: Ethics and Risk offers general information on this challenging topic.

Legal Matters Addressed on APTA's Website

Myriad resources on a variety of legal issues are provided on APTA's website. Review this information under the headings Practice & Patient Care, Payment, and Advocacy.

Please note: The information provided is offered for general informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended, nor should it be relied upon, as legal advice. Legal doctrines, statutes, and case law vary from state to state. You should consult with your own attorney for specific legal advice on particular legal issues.

  • Last Updated: 9/10/2012
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