Medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania have generally decreased over the last decade or so. This is due in large part to changes in medical malpractice law in Pennsylvania which made it more difficult for injured patients to pursue these cases. Over a decade ago, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law which requires patients to obtain a special certificate, known as a certificate of merit, in order to be able to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit in this state.
Related: Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Cases – Was the Doctor Negligent?
The certificate of merit requirement is costly because it requires the plaintiff to obtain an opinion from a medical expert. Basically, the medical expert is hired to review the case and make a determination that the hospital, doctor or specialist at issue in the case was negligent. Costs to hire an expert in a typical medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania can easily total $5,000 and more, per expert. Pennsylvania’s certificate of merit requirement applies to all types of medical negligence cases, such as hospital malpractice, surgical malpractice, etc. The law is the reason for the general decrease in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits in PA.
Philadelphia Area Medical Malpractice Verdicts for Patients
However, despite this general decline, juries in PA are awarding significant monetary verdict amounts. Here’s a recent case which shows this trend.
Philadelphia Hospital Malpractice Lawsuit – $5 Million Verdict for Plaintiff in Surgical Infection Case (April 2015)
In this case, a Philadelphia woman was awarded just under $5 million for her medical malpractice lawsuit against a Philadelphia area hospital. She became paraplegic after a spinal surgical infection. The case involved a post-surgery infection which developed roughly 10 days after surgery. The patient followed up with the surgeon and due to a series of alleged miscommunications, the patient was not admitted to the original hospital in a timely manner. She alleged that she became paralyzed due to a failure to admit her in a timely manner and failure to respond to signs of post-surgical infection.
Related: Montgomery County, PA Surgical Malpractice Case Result: $3 Million Settlement
Historically, the surrounding counties of Philadelphia, such as Delaware County, are usually conservative in terms of jury verdict awards in medical malpractice cases. However, at least one recent case shows that juries in historically conservative counties are awarding significant damages amounts in medical malpractice cases.
Delaware County Stroke Malpractice Lawsuit – $7 Million Verdict for Plaintiff with High Blood Pressure (April 2015)
This medical malpractice case involved a man who suffered a debilitating stroke. The issue in the case was what caused the stroke. The patient claimed that the stroke was caused by his doctor’s failure to treat dangerously high blood pressure on two occasions: 184/94; 200/80. Two days later, he suffered a massive stroke which resulted in loss of functioning in both legs and one arm. The defense claimed that the stroke was caused by atherosclerosis (blockage of arteries) and was exacerbated by the patient’s medical history which included smoking and a history of medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, etc. The Delaware County jury disagreed and found in favor of the patient.
These recent cases show that medical malpractice lawsuits in the Philadelphia area can be successful. Get more information about medical malpractice lawsuits in Philadelphia.
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