Medical malpractice lawsuits have fallen almost 50 percent since the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts started tracking case filings in 2000. In 2014, there were 1,463 new cases in Pennsylvania civil courts challenging medical services provided. It is the lowest number of cases filed since they started tracking in 2000.

Contributing to the decline was the 2003 rule change requiring attorneys to obtain a “certificate of merit” that the medical procedure performed fell outside acceptable standards.

The 2003 rules also led to a redistribution of the locations where these cases were filed as the rule eliminated venue shopping. Instead, it required the actions to be brought only in the county where the cause of action took place. Montgomery County, for example, has increased from 14 actions in 2003 to around 100 in the last couple years.

There were only two counties in 2014 where more than 100 medical malpractice cases were filed. Philadelphia was the venue with the most filings – 382 cases were filed here. Allegheny County (home to Pittsburgh) was second with 262 case filings.

The statistics indicate that there were 9 jury and non-jury verdicts of more than $1 million in medical malpractice cases in PA in 2014. However, I expect that these statistics do not include arbitrations in the scope of the non-jury verdicts and obviously the figure doesn’t include settlements given its express limitation to verdicts.

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