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Reasons for decline in malpractice cases filed in Pennsylvania

It has been reported that medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania have been declining in recent years.  The number of cases has declined by approximately ten percent in 2012 from the previous year.  Our state has also seen a decline in the number of cases since 2002 just prior to Pennsylvania implementing a number of changes to medical malpractice law.

In 2003, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court required that individuals bringing medical malpractice claims obtain a certificate of merit from a doctor or other medical professional asserting that the medical care in question was outside of accepted standards.  The Supreme Court also required that any claim only be instituted in the county where the malpractice reportedly took place.

This suggests that more procedural obstacles have been put in place for the filing of claims, but this does not necessarily mean that less medical malpractice has taken place.  Though fewer claims had been filed in 2012, there were still at least two jury verdicts brought back in medical malpractice cases that exceeded $10 million.

In the past many attorneys that had no experience or knowledge as to how medical malpractice claims were tried.  As claims are becoming increasingly less common, hopefully the attorneys that represent individuals in these claims are at the same time becoming more qualified.  

Injuries that occur due to medical malpractice are often quite severe and can in some cases result in lifetime of suffering and disability.  Often cases come about due to a failure to diagnose or because of medical neglect, and these sorts of incidents are generally avoidable.

Source: Clinical Advisor, "Pennsylvania malpractice lawsuits declining," by Ann W. Latner, JD, June 17, 2013

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