Today’s Legal Intelligencer tells us what we already know: in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, patients’ right to compensation for injuries caused by medical malpractice is dying. Not a quick death, mind you, like the death of patients’ rights in Texas (a punishment insurance companies and medical associations are trying to inflict upon New York), but a slow death.
The current climate in Pennsylvania’s courtrooms is forcing many of the state’s plaintiffs firms to be more selective in the medical malpractice cases they take on, and also has them looking to areas like mass torts and class actions for new business.
Nearly eight years after the state enacted medical malpractice reform measures and in the wake of one the worst economic downturns in history, the number of plaintiffs verdicts has continued to dwindle in many venues statewide, leading several of Pennsylvania’s largest plaintiffs firms to screen those cases more rigorously.
It’s not really a loss for trial lawyers if medical malpractice liability is restricted to a tiny fraction of catastrophic injury cases. It’s a loss for everyone.