Monday, May 24, 2010

Drop in Local Medical Malpractice Filings

I recently reported on the drop in the number of medical malpractice case filings across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by 42 percent as determined by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. A recent article by Erin L. Nissley in the May 17, 2010 edition of Scranton's The Times Tribune reported on the numbers locally.

According to that article, Lackawanna County's medical malpractice lawsuits have dropped 53 percent over the past eight years. More specifically, in 2009 there were 33 medical malpractice matters filed compared to 71 such cases in the year 2000.

The article also reports that only three medical malpractice cases went to trial last year in Lackawanna County, with only one of those cases resulting in a verdict for a plaintiff.

Between January of 2000 and July of 2003, 27 such cases went to trial with only 3 verdicts in favor of the plaintiff.

The article indicated that the neighboring counties of Luzerne and Wayne have seen an increase in such filings since the year 2000. However, most of the counties across the Commonwealth have seen drops in the number of filings similar to that seen in Lackawanna County.

Commentators have noted that the reduction in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits may be attributable to (1) the new requirement plaintiffs secure a Certificate of Merit from a medical professional to support the potential validity of the claim presented, and (2) the requirement that the cases can only be filed in the county where the malpractice took place.

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