Court Loosens Rules on Where Malpractice Cases Can Be Filed
By Mark Scolforo
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently reversed a 20-year-old rule requiring medical malpractice cases to be filed in the county where the alleged harm occurred. A majority of the court's Civil Procedural Rules Committee said in a report that medical malpractice cases should be subject to the same rules as other civil litigation. "There appears to be a misconception that patients harmed by the negligent actions of healthcare providers somehow enjoy a windfall verdict in more populous counties. Many of these patients have endured substantial injuries seriously lessening their quality of life in perpetuity, requiring permanent medical care and assistance in activities of daily living," the report said. "The available data does not support a conclusion that changes in the availability, cost, and affordability of medical professional liability insurance are the result of changes in Pennsylvania law." However, some experts are concerned that the decision will increase the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where jurors generally are viewed as more sympathetic to patients and more likely to approve bigger verdicts.
Read more on the Associated Press.