Physical Therapist Direct Exam Testimony Outline

"With a physical therapist and a direct testimony checklist form, you can get better bodily injury damages testimony."

In bodily injury cases, a comprehensive 11 page form list of direct testimony questions will guide you in seeing that important damages medical testimony from the physical therapist will be in evidence.

Physical Therapists are a rich source of additional testimony available to you. You just need to know what to ask during direct examination.

Our #MED3434 Checklist: Direct Exam of Physical Therapist gives you:

  • tips and background information, so you know the questions you want to ask the physical therapist in your preparation of the witness for deposition or trial, plus
  • your checklist of questions to ask during his/her direct testimony at deposition or trial.

Scroll down the rest of this web page for the text that summarizes the present state-granted licensed authority of physical therapists to diagnosis movement dysfunction, and how you can use that testimony in your bodily injury cases - plaintiff or defendant.


Physical therapists of the 21st century: medical experts for trial testimony.

By Leonard Bucklin©

Lawyers for claimants frequently overlook the help that a physical therapist (PT) can provide, both to the bodily injured client in restoring function and reducing pain, and also proving the sequalae of the injury. Testimony about the therapy given is only part of what can used by you. Testimony of loss of bodily function ability to do employment tasks and daily living activities is also available - from an expert that jurors can relate to easily.

Better yet, the records of a PT often has more documentation (think trial exhibits to go into the jury room) of measurements of functional loss. The PT's measurements of functional loss (or lack of it) are often more objective, reliable, and thorough than that of the attending medical doctor. A layer who can produce an impressive set of objective measurements of the movement abilities of claimant has an advantage with the jury.

More: a PT's records or testimony regarding the patient's statements of pain go a long way to inducing belief in the plaintiff's testimony as to how he/she hurt in the years before the trial date. Remember Fed. R. Evid., Rule 803, and like state rules allow the physical therapist to testify that the plaintiff moaned and reported pain!

"(3) A statement of the declarant's then existing state of mind, emotion, sensation, or physical condition (such as ... mental feeling, pain, and bodily health) is admissible as not subject to the hearsay rule.] [Emphasis supplied.]

Using the PT to give reports of the plaintiff's pain is more effective with the trier of fact that using the plaintiff or the family of the plaintiff.

Start to understand how a PT can help you (as a trial lawyer) with testimony regarding present or future limited physical function, in settlements and trials, by reading the Bureau of Labor Statistics description in its 2005 annual Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Physical therapists.... examine patients' medical histories and then test and measure the patients' strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. They also determine patients' ability to be independent and reintegrate into the community or workplace after injury or illness... [Emphasis supplied.]

Physical therapists are health care professionals who treat medical problems that involve the abilities to move and perform functional activities in daily life. Often, lawyers do not understand that PT's are medically trained to objectively describe the problems that limit movement and functional activities, then "evaluate" the functional limitations on doing work or daily activity. In short, they can say with authority what the plaintiff cannot do in ordinary activities of an occupation or the everyday movements of daily living.

Welcome to the 21st century of medicine! Today a new physical therapist cannot be licensed unless that have a master's or doctor's degree from an accredited college. (In all states, the accrediting organization does not accredit schools that graduate physical therapists with only a bachelor's degree.) The history of physical therapy as a profession is illustrated by the description given by the University of Minnesota.

"The Program in Physical Therapy at the University of Minnesota began as a certificate program in 1941. It expanded to a baccalaureate program in 1946, a master of science program in 1997 and a professional doctoral degree program in 2002. All students entering the program and completing all requirements graduate with a professional Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy."

The University of Southern California today describes their "entry level" physical therapy program, with the following words.

"The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at the University of Southern California prepares graduates to be autonomous practitioners, capable of evaluating and treating patients without the need for referral from another practitioner, but ready to work in collaboration with other health professionals. The Doctor of Physical Therapy is the authoritative practitioner in the diagnosis and treatment of movement dysfunction." [Emphasis supplied.]

Think about it. Respected universities that have medical schools train PT's to be "capable of evaluating and treating patients without the need for referral from another practitioner," and to be the professional person who is the "authoritative practitioner in the diagnosis and treatment of movement dysfunction." That means you as a lawyer have a rich source of additional medical testimony available to you. Do not miss out of using that personal injury testimony!

Lawyers frequently overlook physical therapists when the issue is proving the damages suffered by a personal injury claimant. Don't be one of those lawyers!


Over the years, this question checklist form will save you hours of trial prep time -- a real value for the time it saves you!

But that's not all. This checklist form gives you valuable ideas and advice on how to make the direct examination of your physical therapist witness effective in blocking the other side's attempts to counter your story of what the injury is (or is not doing) in the life of the claimant.

You're a personal injury attorney. A checklist for their medical testimony should be in your toolbox of forms. This checklist is based on the assumption that the plaintiff has received physical injury, and you want to maximize (or minimize) the damages for plaintiff's present and future problems (or lack of them).

This legal form was designed for plaintiff attorneys in personal injury cases. Although many of the plaintiff-orientated questions in the checklist will be omitted by a defense attorney doing a direct examination of the defense PT, defense attorneys still find the checklist contains much they can use. If the defense has a physical therapist do a functional capacity evaluation, the defense has to present his/her testimony, and this checklist gives defense attorneys the format and questions they need.

We are selling the 11 pages, single spaced - Checklist: Direct Exam of Physical Therapist for only $24.80! You cannot dictate your own checklist that cheaply. This form pays for itself in time saved alone, without even considering the additional text information and tips you get in this form. It's a wonderful value with great potential return. Click the "Buy Now" button to get Checklist: Direct Exam of Physical Therapist!


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