Philadelphia is inching toward becoming the epicenter of medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania, as the Supreme Court is considering a proposal that would abolish the requirement that medical malpractice lawsuits should be filed in the county where the alleged injury occurred.
“So what’s the big deal?” you may be thinking. Our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer at The Weitz Firm, LLC, explains that juries in Philadelphia have a history of awarding multi-million verdicts in medical malpractice cases. And this is definitely a good thing for individuals who suffer injuries or illnesses as a result of medical errors or negligent medical care.
But the high risk of your medical malpractice case getting stuck in courts and getting delayed for months or years due to the long queue of medical malpractice lawsuits filed by injured individuals in Philadelphia is definitely not a good thing.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is considering a proposal that would undo a rule that requires medical malpractice lawsuits to be filed in the county where the alleged medical malpractice occurred. The legal requirement has been in place since the early 2000s.
One of the requirements introduced as part of the changes in the early 2000s required the injured patients to obtain a certification of merit for their injury before suing the negligent medical professional. Legal experts agree that the existing requirements are responsible for the noticeable decline in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania as well as the reduced average value of medical malpractice suits in the state.
“However, even the staunchest opponents of the early 2000s changes cannot deny the fact that these changes helped stabilize Pennsylvania’s medical malpractice insurance market,” says our experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia. But Pennsylvania could go back to the way it was prior to those changes.
But how will the proposed rule change impact medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania? Abolishing the existing requirement has its pros and cons. From the one hand, there will be an uptick of medical malpractice cases filed in Philadelphia. From the other hand, the value of these cases will go up significantly.
From the one hand, it also means that medical malpractice insurance will be more expensive. From the other hand, it will also increase the waiting time in Philadelphia courts, as juries in Pennsylvania’s largest city will most likely struggle with the increased overload and stacks of unresolved and pending medical malpractice cases.
Our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney explains how the value of medical malpractice cases could go up once the proposed rule change comes into effect in Pennsylvania. According to Pennsylvania’s state data, an annual average of 1,204 medical malpractice lawsuits were filed in Philadelphia from 2000 to 2003 (before the changes to Pennsylvania law were made).
In the period between 2007 and 2017, an annual average of 416 medical malpractice cases were brought in Philadelphia. For the sake of comparison, a total number of jury verdicts in medical malpractice cases that exceed the $1 million mark dropped from 73 (2000-2003) to only 13 (2015-2017).
Also, our medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia reminds readers about the inevitable impact of the proposed rule change on the value of insurance coverage. The average medical malpractice coverage cost up to $130,000 back in 2003, while under the existing law, the same insurance coverage costs about $50,000.
Only time will tell whether or not the Supreme Court justices accept the proposed rule change that would send Pennsylvania back to the early 2000s. For the time being, if you have been harmed due to a negligent act or omission to act on the part of your healthcare provider, do not hesitate to speak to our lawyers at The Weitz Firm, LLC. Call our offices at 267-587-6240 today.