Pennsylvania has released its medical malpractice statistics for the 2016 calendar year. Overall, the numbers have remained stable over the past several years.
Medical malpractice filings remain relatively low when compared with cases reported during the 2000-2002 time period. The first year the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) began reporting these statistics was 2000, and the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (Mcare) Act was signed into law in March 2002.
A Closer Look at Jury Verdict Numbers
A total of 110 medical malpractice cases were tried via jury verdict in 2016. This number represents a 7.8 percent increase from the previous year; however, nearly 85 percent of the verdicts returned in 2016 were in favor of the defense, compared with 78.4 percent last year.
A total of 110 medical malpractice cases were tried via jury verdict in 2016. Seventeen jury cases in 2016 resulted in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. Of the cases in which the outcome was an award to the plaintiff, the results were as follows:
- 5 verdicts with awards less than $500,000
- 2 verdicts with awards between $500,000 and $1 million
- 4 verdicts with awards between $1 million and $5 million (fewer than last year's total of 12 for verdicts in this category)
- 5 verdicts with awards between $5 million and $10 million
- 1 verdict with an award greater than $10 million
What has led to the reduction in medical malpractice litigation since its high point during 2000-2002? A variety of reasons are likely contributing to the decrease, including the rising cost of litigation, an increase in the use of alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration, and Mcare's requirement that plaintiffs obtain a certificate of merit from an expert that establishes that the medical procedures in a case fall outside acceptable standards.
Additional PA medical malpractice statistics from 2000-2016, including breakdowns by county, are available from the AOPC. Access the statistics.
On behalf of Pennsylvania physicians, the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) provides strong legal advocacy in the courts, legislature, and state government agencies. We also offer our members resources about laws and regulations that impact the practice of medicine. Find out more at PAMED's Legal Resource Center: www.pamedsoc.org/legalresourcecenter.