There has been debate on “venue” when it comes to medical malpractice cases. After a 2002 legislative change in Pennsylvania was enacted to put a cap on the medical malpractice crisis, lawyers and lawmakers have been fighting to change legislation to benefit the people, not the insurance companies.
But to understand the laws, it’s important to understand the definition of venue and how it differs from personal injury cases to medical malpractice.
As defined by Law.com, venue is “the proper or most convenient location for trial of a case…For civil cases, venue is usually the district or county which is the residence of a principal defendant, where a contract was executed or is to be performed, or where an accident took place.”
In Pennsylvania, medical malpractice lawsuits can only be filed in the county where the malpractice occurred. This rule is restrictive compared to the regulations revolving other civil cases where the plaintiff has more control on where the lawsuit is filed.
The regulation surrounding venue in medical malpractice was put into place in 2002, in response to the worry that medical malpractice lawsuits were being disproportionately filed in counties that typically resulted in higher payouts based on statistics of previous lawsuits.
However, data by John Hopkins University School of Medicine has debunked this.
According to the study, “In their review of malpractice payouts over $1 million, the researchers say those payments added up to roughly $1.4 billion a year, making up far less than 1 percent of national medical expenditures in the United States.” Further, the study found that it was not malpractice lawsuits causing the spike in health care cost–it was the fear of lawsuits, causing medical providers to order unnecessary medical tests to avoid legal disputes.
You can learn more about these issues in this episode of The Law & You.
UPDATES TO VENUE LEGISLATION IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
As more evidence is procured about the rising cost of healthcare, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Committee is proposing change.
The new rule would allow a plaintiff to file medical malpractice lawsuits in any county where the healthcare provider does business. While the plaintiff still could not file anywhere, it would give more leeway against venue restrictions and be more in line with other personal injury cases.
While this current rule proposal is in the comment period, after February 22, the rule can be submitted for Supreme Court approval.
We understand that medical malpractice cases are complicated. While you’re concerned about your recovery and receiving the compensation that is rightfully yours, our firm can help you navigate the legal system.
CONTACT FELLERMAN & CIARIMBOLI NOW
At Philadelphia law firm Fellerman & Ciarimboli, we understand that you’re frustrated. We call upon our years of experience to determine what went wrong and who is responsible. We work tirelessly to help ease the financial, caregiving and emotional burdens caused by medical malpractice. And we’ll help you navigate the legal system while you file a medical malpractice claim.
If you or someone you love have suffered because of a healthcare professional’s negligence, time is of the essence. Don’t wait to seek legal representation. Contact the Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton medical malpractice lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli today for a free consultation.