As physical therapists increase autonomous practice, medical error becomes more important to public safety and public perceptions of the profession. The purpose of this study was to describe malpractice by physical therapists in the United States based on physical therapist malpractice reports in the National Practitioner Data Bank between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 2004. A frequency analysis of data related to physical therapist malpractice reports was performed. The relationship between size of malpractice payment and public policy related to access to physical therapist services and malpractice experience was explored. A total of 664 malpractice reports were found in the study period (mean, 47.73 events annually). California had 114 malpractice events, while Maine and Wyoming had none. The median payment amount for physical therapist malpractice was $10,000 to $15,000. "Treatment-related" events and events related to "improper technique" were the most common reasons for a malpractice report. Incidence of malpractice by physical therapists is low (estimated at 2.5 events/10,000 working therapists/year), and the average malpractice payment is small (<$15,000). Typical physical therapist malpractice involves a direct intervention by an early to mid-career therapist in an urban state. Cumulative physical therapist malpractice incidence in a state was unrelated to public policy related to direct patient access to physical therapy services.It is highly unlikely I'll ever work in California, and I'm not surprised that state of California took the cake for most malpractice events. Maine and Wyoming tend to fit my lifestyle more, so that looks up for me. An interesting finding which relates to me is that malpractice suits typically were filed against early-mid career PT's. I've noticed that I tend to be more aggressive than "seasoned" PT's. I also try to use evidence as much as possible and the evidence typically points to aggressive strengthening to improve strength, as opposed to the all too often seen exercises with little to no weight. No wonder people are calling PT boring and tedious when compared to wiihabiliation. Additionally I utilize manual therapy and exercise because evidence shows the two combined almost always trumps either when used alone. The possibility of injuring someone with manual techniques is there and needs to be considered. Side note: my CI barked at me today from across the gym for using grade I-II hip mobilizations for pain modulation on a patient that had a THA over 8 months ago; her risk assessment outweighed the potential benefit. I wonder how much my risk assessment will change once I am licensed? Definetely something to consider, but for my patients I will continue to listen and spend time with them, place my therapeutic hands on them, and educate them accordingly.