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It Could Become Easier to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

Posted on in Personal Injury

Allegheny County medical malpractice lawyer

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is considering retraction of decades-old restraints on medical malpractice lawsuits. The decision to do so could make it easier for plaintiffs to sue their doctor if they feel negligence and wrongdoing were committed. Meanwhile, some say such a move would have catastrophic consequences and upend the system. 

Background of the Issue

In Pennsylvania during the 1990s and early 2000s, the issue of medical malpractice was hotly contested. Back then, the number of civil lawsuits filed against doctors was much higher than it is now. The reason for this was that state law allowed for lawsuits to be commenced anywhere the plaintiff or defendant had a personal or professional connection. The attorney for the plaintiff would typically select a district where they were most likely to get a favorable jury. However, many thought this practice was unfair to doctors, calling it "venue shopping," and claiming that it encouraged unnecessary lawsuits against medical practitioners.

They also claimed frivolous lawsuits were driving doctors and nurses out of state and causing a shortage of medical caregivers. The ensuing political fight resulted in several laws being passed which curtailed a plaintiff's ability to file a lawsuit. In 2002, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a ruling that mandated that medical malpractice lawsuits had to be issued in the county where the alleged offense occurred. The number of medical malpractice lawsuits fell dramatically.

New Challenges to the Ruling

A recent political realignment in the Supreme Court has sparked controversy regarding this issue. The now predominant Democratic Supreme Court is considering lifting the restrictions. The argument for doing so is that there has been enough evolution in the system where frivolous lawsuits are less likely to happen. Further, there is a concern that the significant drop in lawsuits being filed is resulting in legitimate injuries not getting their day in court. But the potential for such a change has unsettled many people. Doctors and hospitals have protested such a claim, fearing they will be overwhelmed by a barrage of lawsuits. It is claimed that this would prevent them from providing quality medical care and that they would be unable to hire high-quality professionals. The Republican-dominated Pennsylvania Senate requested that the Supreme Court hold any such ruling while they review possible legislative measures which might provide a compromise. 

Contact an Allegheny County Personal Injury Attorney 

If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, you need a trusted Allegheny County medical malpractice lawyer from Colianni & Colianni, LLC to help. We will work tirelessly for you and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our offices today for a free consultation at 412-943-0007.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/legalnewsline/2019/02/06/senate-responds-as-pa-supreme-court-considers-annulling-a-2002-law-to-trial-lawyers-benefit/#784ebff3752b

 

https://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/little-known-panel-could-change-rule-on-medical-malpractice-suits-in-pennsylvania

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