PA Supreme Court Amends Malpractice Filing Rules
(Philadelphia) - Last week, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania amended the Rules of Civil Procedure to allow medical malpractice suits to be filed in a selection of counties depending on the facts of the particular case, not just the county in which the harm took place. This essentially means that, effective January 2023, medical malpractice lawsuits will fall under the same rules as other types of civil litigation. This decision has returned the malpractice venue rules to their pre-2003 status that similarly allowed such actions to be filed in a selection of counties, depending on the facts of the case.
“This is a significant development which now gives victims who have been injured by medical negligence the opportunity to select an appropriate county based upon the same legal principles as any other negligence case,” said Ken Fulginiti of Duffy + Fulginiti.
“This will improve access to the courts for all medical negligence victims,” added Tom Duffy, founder of the firm. “It recognizes the need for all cases to be evaluated on the same basis, not compelling the lawsuit to be filed in the county where there was some treatment.”
A Spotlight PA article explained that, in certain counties, the location may lower the value of a case or put a victim at an automatic disadvantage before a jury, especially when a hospital may be a significant employer. The Pennsylvania Association for Justice noted that this new rule “levels the playing field and will improve access to justice for all Pennsylvanians.”
A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report echoed that, in the ruling, the court was steadfast in protecting victims’ rights, as even the justices stated that “there appears to be a misconception that patients harmed by the negligent actions of health care providers somehow enjoy a windfall verdict in more populous counties. Many of these patients have endured substantial injuries seriously lessening their quality of life in perpetuity, requiring permanent medical care and assistance in activities of daily living.”
Over the last 30+ years, Duffy + Fulginiti has secured millions for victims of catastrophic injury, medical malpractice and general liability in Philadelphia. To speak with the firm about the details of a medical malpractice claim or other personal injury matter, visit duffyfirm.com or call (215) 238-8700.