Victims of medical malpractice in this state may need to factor in how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent rule change about venue will affect their cases.
In the legal world, the venue is the local court in which a person files a lawsuit. Usually, there are rules about which courts a person may use to pursue a legal action.
The Supreme Court decided that, starting in January, victims of medical malpractice will be able to file their cases in one of several counties in this state.
This recent change undoes the current process in favor of how Pennsylvania courts have operated historically.
For the past 20 or so years, the current rules have required victims of medical malpractice to file their suits in the county where the alleged malpractice happened.
To give an example, if a person suffered a medical injury at a doctor’s office in Dauphin County, then the suit had to be filed in Dauphin County even if the doctor also had offices in Philadelphia County.
Starting in January, a victim could likely file in either county.
This change does not mean that people can always file their medical malpractice cases in their court of choice. Victims will still have to show that their provider has some significant personal or business tie to the county where they wish to file.
Even so, having some choice in which court to file one’s case is an important option for victims.
It is only natural for them to want to find a court where a judge and jury which will understand the severe and life-long financial and emotional consequences of medical malpractice.
Choosing the best venue is one of many strategic questions
Choosing the right venue is just one of many strategic legal questions a victim will want to consider when pursuing a medical malpractice claim in court.
In addition to doing what the law requires, a successful outcome in a medical malpractice case will frequently come down to these types of strategic choices. An outcome can even come down to very detailed matters like the background of someone who is serving on the victim’s jury.
This is why having a legal professional with experience handling medical malpractice cases frequently helps victims achieve their goals.