PA Medical Malpractice

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer discusses changes in PA Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In 2002, Pennsylvania Supreme Court made two changes in rules to filing a PA medical malpractice lawsuit.  The first rule change required medical malpractice attorneys to obtain a certificate of merit from a medical professional that establishes that the medical procedure fell outside the acceptable professional standard of care.  The second rule change requires that PA medical malpractice cases are filed in the county where the PA medical malpractice allegedly occurred.

The calendar years 2000 through 2002 have been deemed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the base years for comparing PA medical malpractice case filings per year.

On May 7, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a report regarding PA medical malpractice cases filed during calendar year 2011 as compared to the prior six years. For 2011, there were 1,528 medical malpractice cases filed compared to 1,491 for 2010. In 2009, there were 1,533 medical malpractice cases filed, in 2008 there were 1,602 medical malpractice cases filed , in 2007 there were 1,641 medical malpractice cases filed , in 2006 there were 1,704 medical malpractice cases filed, in 2005 there were 1,711 medical malpractice cases filed, in 2004 there were 1,819 medical malpractice cases filed, in 2003 there were 1,712 medical malpractice cases filed, in 2002 there were 2,904 medical malpractice cases filed, in 2001 there were 2,659 medical malpractice cases filed, and in 2000 there were 2,632 medical malpractice cases filed throughout Pennsylvania.

The year 2011 had the fewest number of jury verdicts when compared to prior years. More than 70% of the jury verdicts in 2011 were defense verdicts. For each of the last six years, including 2011, the number of non-jury verdicts in PA medical malpractice cases was in the single digits.

There was a 44.1% decrease in the number of PA medical malpractice cases filed in Pennsylvania in 2011 when compared to the base years (the medical malpractice case filings for Philadelphia, which is the judicial district with the largest caseload in Pennsylvania, decreased by more than 65%).

The decline of PA medical malpractice cases filed since 2002 does not mean that there is less medical malpractice occurring in Pennsylvania.  The numbers more likely indicate that since it is more difficult for medical malpractice cases to be filed, the number of medical malpractice cases has decreased in the court system.  Although some of the decrease may be frivolous medical malpractice claims, it is likely that the rule changes have resulted in valid medical malpractice claims not being filed.


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