Number of Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Claims On The Decline

May 11, 2012

Philadelphia Magazine‘s “Be Well Philly” blog (5/8, Hingston) reported two significant rules changes made a decade ago by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court have reduced medical malpractice lawsuits in the state by 44.1 percent from their levels in 2000-2002, and “a whopping 65 percent” in Philadelphia, where medical malpractice suits “fell from 1,365 in 2003 to 577 in 2011 — a 58 percent decrease.” In 2002, Pennsylvania malpractice plaintiffs “were more than twice as likely to win jury trials as the national average — and more than half their awards were for $1 million or more,” with Philadelphia plaintiffs winning three times as often as in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County. Rules changes made that year, later codified in state law, “required medical malpractice actions to be brought in the county where the cause of action took place, and… required that attorneys procure a ‘certificate of merit’ from a medical professional stating that the medical procedures in the case lay outside acceptable professional standards.”