The year 2010 has brought about a further decline of medical malpractice cases.

According to an article in the Legal, dated April 27, 2010, medical malpractice case filings and verdicts in the year 2009 revealed a continuing decline in the number of suits filed against healthcare providers in Pennsylvania, including hospitals and doctors.

This was fifth straight year of such a decline. The Legal article indicated that there were only 1,533 malpractice healthcare lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania in 2009, which was a 43.9% decline from the base year of 2002-2003. Some of the reasons for the decline could be that the plaintiffs are now required to file a Certificate of Merit before being allowed to pursue a medical malpractice case. Others feel that the reason for the limited number of new medical malpractice suits is the enormous litigation costs required to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Finally, the Courts have been very strict about preventing forum shopping by the plaintiffs.

Forum shopping involves plaintiffs filing a lawsuit in the county where generally verdicts are the highest. Philadelphia is often cited as a very favorable plaintiffs’ forum for personal injury cases.

Many people feel that this further decline of medical malpractice cases will lead to a lack of accountability for medical errors by those in the practice of medicine (doctors and hospitals) and the opportunity for correction of unacceptable medical care will be lost by the great decrease in the number of malpractice lawsuits filed.

What do you feel about the medical malpractice issue? Should doctors who commit medical malpractice be sued for their injuries? If the doctor commits medical malpractice in your case and sincerely tells you he is sorry for his error and explains the reasons why, would you be less inclined to pursue a malpractice case? Are you less inclined to pursue a claim against your family doctor, for example, than the surgeon who operated on you? These are all legitimate questions that should be considered when discussing medical malpractice reform.

What do you think about this? Please, I want to hear from you!!