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Rule change affects medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania

Sometimes people in Pennsylvania file lawsuits that have no legal standing. These actions take up the court’s time and money and may divert attention away from legitimate cases. They can also give lawsuits a bad reputation. In reality, however, some people need the help that a medical malpractice lawsuit can bring.

It has been a decade since the rules for filing a medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania were changed by the state Supreme Court. The first rule change addressed the “certificate of merit.” This document shows that the medical care provided in a specific case did not meet acceptable standards and must be obtained from a medical professional before filing a lawsuit. This is rule is undoubtedly intended to stop people from filing frivolous lawsuits. The second rule change requires people to file their medical malpractice claim in the county where the medical mistake took place.

These changes have had a significant impact in the number of medical malpractice filings in Pennsylvania. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts found that the number of cases filed in 2012 was down 45 percent from the years just prior to the rule changes. Additionally, there were 167 less filings in 2012 than in 2011. The Supreme Court Chief Justice sees these numbers as evidence the state government successfully addressed “one of the Commonwealth’s more vexing challenges.”

The number of medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania may be on the decline, but you may still have the right to file a lawsuit. If you are the victim of a negligent physician, you may be entitled to compensation. A lawyer may be able to help. 

Source: Legal Newsline Legal Journal, “Figures show medical malpractice case filings in Pa. down again,” Jessica M. Karmasek, June 14, 2013

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