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Number of medical malpractice lawsuits increase in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania patients may be interested to learn that the number of medical malpractice lawsuits has increased in Lancaster County while the number has plummeted elsewhere in the state. Medical malpractice attorneys for both plaintiffs and defendants believe that this trend may be due to the changing county demographics.

According to the local attorneys, older individuals are moving in from out of state to the county's retirement communities. The older people get the more medical care they may require, which increases the chances for medical errors.

Another reason for the increase may be due to reforms that were enacted back in 2002 which stipulates that any malpractice lawsuit must be filed in the county where the incident took place. In addition, 28 lawsuits over seven years were filed against a single physician. Further, the lawsuits are increasingly successful, which might encourage more people to file lawsuits.

In other Pennsylvania cities, the rate of lawsuits filed has decreased. In Philadelphia, the number of suits in 2012 dropped 67.7 percent from 2002. In Pittsburgh, the number has dropped by 29 percent. The decrease in suits may be resulting from a number of factors, including the tort reform and the implementation of a 'certificate of merit" for each case, which establishes that medical errors had actually occurred.

While frivolous malpractice lawsuits are filed occasionally, a true medical error or negligence on the part of the hospital staff can have serious impacts on a patient and their families. Consequences can include serious injuries, surgical errors and infections. An experienced Pennsylvania attorney may be able to help their clients seek compensation for any medical bills, pain and suffering and even death that may have occurred.

Source: Lancaster Online, "Malpractice suits on the rise in county", GIL SMART , June 09, 2013

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