Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Damage Award Limit or Cap No limitations.
Pennsylvania Constitution Article 3, §18: The General Assembly may enact laws requiring the payment by employers, or employers and employees jointly, of reasonable compensation for injuries to employees arising in the course of their employment, and for occupational diseases of employees, whether or not such injuries or diseases result in death, and regardless of fault of employer or employee, and fixing the basis of ascertainment of such compensation and the maximum and minimum limits thereof, and providing special or general remedies for the collection thereof; but in no other cases shall the General Assembly limit the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death, or for injuries to persons or property, and in case of death from such injuries, the right of action shall survive, and the General Assembly shall prescribe for whose benefit such actions shall be prosecuted.
40 §1303.505. Except in cases alleging intentional misconduct, punitive damages against an individual physician shall not exceed 200 percent of the compensatory damages awarded. Punitive damages, when awarded, shall not be less than $100,000 unless a lower verdict amount is returned by the trier of fact. Upon the entry of a verdict including an award of punitive damages, the punitive damages portion of the award shall be allocated as follows: (1) 75 percent shall be paid to the prevailing party; and (2) 25 percent shall be paid to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund.
40 §1303.509. The trier of fact may incorporate into any future medical expense award adjustments to account for reasonably anticipated inflation and medical care improvements as presented by competent evidence.
Statute of Limitation 40 §1303.513. No cause of action asserting a medical professional liability claim may be commenced after seven years from the date of the alleged tort or breach of contract. Foreign object: no time limitation. Minors: No cause of action may be commenced by or on behalf of a minor after seven years from the date of the alleged tort or breach of contract or after the minor attains the age of 20 years, whichever is later.
42 §5524. Two years from injury or discovery.
Joint and Several Liability Joint and several liability. 42 §7102. Where recovery is allowed against more than one defendant, each defendant shall be liable for that proportion of the total dollar amount awarded as damages in the ratio of the amount of his causal negligence to the amount of causal negligence attributed to all defendants against whom recovery is allowed. The plaintiff may recover the full amount of the allowed recovery from any defendant against whom the plaintiff is not barred from recovery.
Limits on Attorney Fees Limits declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Heller v. Frankston, 475 A.2d 1291 (Pa. 1984)).
Periodic Payments 40 §1303.501 et seq. Future damages for medical and other related expenses shall be paid as periodic payments after payment of the proportionate share of counsel fees and costs based upon the present value of the future damages awarded pursuant to this subsection. Future damages for medical and other related expenses shall not be awarded in periodic payments if the claimant objects and stipulates that the total amount of the future damages for medical and other related expenses, without reduction to present value, does not exceed $100,000.
Patient Compensation or Injury Fund 40 §1303.712. Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund. Money in the fund shall be used to pay claims against participating health care providers for losses or damages awarded in medical professional liability actions against them in excess of the basic insurance coverage required.
Doctor Apologies/Sympathetic Gestures None provided.
Pre-Trial Alternative Dispute Resolution and Screening Panels 40 §1303.714. Upon the request of a party to a medical professional liability claim within the fund coverage limits, the department may provide for a mediator in instances where multiple carriers disagree on the disposition or settlement of a case. Upon the consent of all parties, the mediation shall be binding. Proceedings conducted and information provided in accordance with this section shall be confidential and shall not be considered public information subject to disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law, or 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 [FN3] (relating to open meetings).
Affidavit or Certificate of Merit Pa. R. Civ. P. 1042.3. A plaintiff must file a certificate of merit that states (1) an appropriate licensed professional has supplied a written statement that there exists a reasonable probability that the care, skill or knowledge exercised or exhibited in the treatment, practice or work subject of the complaint, fell outside acceptable professional standards and that such conduct was a cause in bringing about the harm; (2) the claim that the defendant deviated from an acceptable professional standard is based solely on allegations that other licensed professionals for whom this defendant is responsible deviated from an acceptable professional conduct; or (3) expert testimony of an appropriate licensed professional is unnecessary for the prosecution of the claim.
Expert Witness Standards 40 §1303.512.
(a) General rule.— No person shall be competent to offer an expert medical opinion in a medical professional liability action against a physician unless that person possesses sufficient education, training, knowledge and experience to provide credible, competent testimony and fulfills the additional qualifications set forth in this section as applicable.
(b) Medical testimony.— An expert testifying on a medical matter, including the standard of care, risks and alternatives, causation and the nature and extent of the injury, must meet the following qualifications: (1) Possess an unrestricted physician’s license to practice medicine in any state or the District of Columbia. (2) Be engaged in or retired within the previous five years from active clinical practice or teaching. Provided, however, the court may waive the requirements of this subsection for an expert on a matter other than the standard of care if the court determines that the expert is otherwise competent to testify about medical or scientific issues by virtue of education, training or experience.
(c) Standard of care.— In addition to the requirements set forth in subsections (a) and (b), an expert testifying as to a physician’s standard of care also must meet the following qualifications: (1) Be substantially familiar with the applicable standard of care for the specific care at issue as of the time of the alleged breach of the standard of care. (2) Practice in the same subspecialty as the defendant physician or in a subspecialty which has a substantially similar standard of care for the specific care at issue, except as provided in subsection (d) or (e). (3) In the event the defendant physician is certified by an approved board, be board certified by the same or a similar approved board, except as provided in subsection (e).
(d) Care outside specialty.— A court may waive the same subspecialty requirement for an expert testifying on the standard of care for the diagnosis or treatment of a condition if the court determines that: (1) the expert is trained in the diagnosis or treatment of the condition, as applicable; and (2) the defendant physician provided care for that condition and such care was not within the physician’s specialty or competence.
(e) Otherwise adequate training, experience and knowledge.— A court may waive the same specialty and board certification requirements for an expert testifying as to a standard of care if the court determines that the expert possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge to provide the testimony as a result of active involvement in or full-time teaching of medicine in the applicable subspecialty or a related field of medicine within the previous five-year time period.