Our Commonwealth, unlike several other states, has done little to combat frivolous lawsuits and “jackpot” jury awards.
In Pennsylvania, juries can force defendants to pay unlimited sums of money to plaintiffs for so-called “pain and suffering”. Our state also doens’t have any requirements to ensure that the suit the takes place in the county where the harm allegedly took place. This is especially problematic when you consider Philadelphia has the distinction of being the number one “Judicial Hellhole” in the nation according to the American Tort Reform Association.
Pennsylvania’s lack of common sense lawsuit reform carries several very harmful consequences, including: making the cost of living higher, as manufacturers and service providers pass along the heavy cost of lawsuit insurance to consumers; making Pennsylvania a very unattractive place for entrepreneurs to locate and expand their businesses, which means fewer jobs; and chasing doctors to other states to avoid the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. The doctors who stay are forced to increase the costs of their services to compensate for their exorbitant malpractice insurance premiums.
- Placing a reasonable cap on jury awards for “pain and suffering,” so that being made whole doesn’t equate to being made ridiculously wealthy, while protecting the ability of plaintiffs to fully recover economic damages (such as lost wages).
- Requiring that the suit be heard in the county where the harm allegedly occurred.