Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Pennsylvania Decrease For 6th Consecutive Year

Medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania declined for the sixth consecutive year. The number of medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania have declined for the sixth year in a row, according to a report by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

In 2010 there were 1,491 medical malpractice filings which the agency says represented a 45.4 percent decline from the peak years of 2000 to 2002. In addition, Philadelphia – the state's largest judicial district with the largest caseload- has seen a 70 percent decline in those cases during the same period.

"Pennsylvania's Judiciary collaboratively addressed a complex medical malpractice litigation crisis, and the latest figures show the progress made in the last seven years," said Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille.

Following a slew of medical malpractice suits during the peak years, the state Supreme Court made two significant changes. The first requires lawyers to obtain a certificate of merit from a medical professional that confirms that the procedures in a case fell outside of acceptable standards. The second says lawsuits can only be brought on in the county where the cause of action took place.

Although the state overall experienced a decrease in medical malpractice suits last year, the city of Erie experienced the highest number in eight years. There were 49 cases filed in 2010, up from 21 in 2009.