15 Year Low in PA Medical Malpractice Jury Verdicts

June 2, 2016

We have previously written about the drop in PA medical malpractice lawsuits since the legislature required plaintiffs to obtain a certificate of merit from an expert to file a complaint. It turns out that we are also seeing new lows in the number of jury verdicts reached in Pennsylvania courts to resolve medical malpractice disputes.

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts has been tracking jury verdicts in PA since 2000. In 2015, there were only 101 medical malpractices cases to reach a jury verdict, which is more than a 20 percent drop from 2014. When AOPC started tracking jury verdicts, they averaged more than three times higher than there current low.

There is surely some correlation between the drop in jury verdicts and the decrease in cases due to the certificate of merit requirement. But this isn’t the only factor that is displacing the role of the jury so potential plaintiffs shouldn’t despair. Less disputes reach trial in court because of the use of binding arbitration and mediation.

For both parties, binding arbitration within a high-low range can offer benefits. Plaintiffs ensure that they walk away with some money from there injuries. The insurance company is able to guarantee that they don’t receive a huge negative judgment and physicians are able to avoid the reporting of a judgment against them on their record.

In some states, tort reform has practically eliminated medical malpractice lawsuits. Here in Pennsylvania, they have simply become more expensive to win and thus attorneys have to be more selective about which cases they agree to take on. If you have been injured by the negligence of a doctor or hospital during treatment, please give us a call at (215) 545-8800 for a free initial consultation.