By Tony Romeo

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – After six years of steady decline, the number of medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania has leveled off.

The state Supreme Court uses the years 2000 through 2003 as the base years for statistical comparison. It was in 2003 that the high court made two key changes to the procedures for filing medical malpractice suits.

While there was a slight increase in the number of lawsuits filed in 2011, there is nonetheless a 44 percent decrease in the number of cases statewide when compared to the base years, and a 65 percent decline in Philadelphia, which has the highest caseload.

In a written statement, the chief justice of the Supreme Court says the leveling off in the decline of medical malpractice cases is not surprising.

The 2011 data also show fewer jury verdicts in comparison to earlier years and show that more than 70 percent of those verdicts were for the defense.

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