Medical malpractice filings drop in Pennsylvania

It was certainly no surprise when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week released their latest statistics showing that the number of lawsuits filed against doctors and hospitals continues to drop.

Compared to the “base years” of 2000-2012, total filings are down 45%. The decease is due to a variety of factors including changes in the law made in 2002 and also lawyers becoming more selective about what cases they accept.

The downward trend in the number of lawsuits certainly dispels the ever-present claims by the insurance industry that we have a malpractice “crisis” in Pennsylvania that requires tort reform. That is hardly the case.

Lawyers who are experienced in medical malpractice litigation simply do not file frivolous cases. They are too smart to invest their time and money in cases that have no chance of succeeding. Nevertheless, the insurance community continues to harp about “frivolous” cases because they know it grabs media attention and makes the general public angry with attorneys. The numbers don’t lie, and the bottom line is this: Doctors and hospitals are getting sued less and less as time goes on.

So for people who believe they have legitimate grounds for a lawsuit, they should not be hesitant at all to contact an attorney or believe in any way that they are contributing to a malpractice “crisis.” Far from it. If a doctor or hospital has made a mistake and caused an injury that should have been prevented, then the patient has every right to hold the responsible people accountable for that injury.