Medical Malpractice Suits Down in Pennsylvania
Fourteen years ago, Pennsylvania started tracking the number of medical malpractice case filings, and now comes good news: the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts reports that 2014 had the fewest new cases ever filed, which is part of an overall decline from the “base years” of 2000-2002. As you might expect, Philly has the largest caseload, but that’s declined almost 70 percent.
Why the drop?
The PA Supreme Court changed the rules in the early aughts, making it harder to file the cases without significant medical consensus. The court also put an end to venue-shopping, which previously had unethical med-mal lawyers taking “clients” from one county to another in search of a judge who would give a favorable decision.
Along with the 2014 low in filings comes a slight increase in jury verdicts, though the number is still comparatively low; and an overwhelming majority of verdicts for the defense. In Philadelphia in 2014, six verdicts were decided in favor of the plaintiff while 12 were decided in favor of the defense.