Pennsylvania Residents Burdened with Thousands of Dollars Annually for State’s Inefficient Civil Justice System

new study by the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) has found that Pennsylvania has the 6th highest tort costs in the nation. The report, which analyzed the impact of lawsuit abuse nationally and by state, revealed that in 2020, tort costs reached $443 billion nationally. Tort costs in the Commonwealth totaled nearly $17 billion (representing 2.1 percent of the state’s GDP) or $3,316 per household. Pennsylvania ranked 18th highest in the nation when it comes to cost per household.

Notably, the study found that our nation’s tort system is relatively inefficient, with only 53 percent of total tort costs going towards compensation for claimants. The rest is used to pay for litigation costs and other expenses.

In a press release highlighting the report, PCCJR Executive Director Curt Schroder noted, “This study shows that our Commonwealth’s notoriously litigious civil justice system is costing Pennsylvania taxpayers. These excessive tort costs impact the productive sector of our economy and place a financial burden on every family in the state. With the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the state’s venue medical liability rule, we expect these costs to continue to grow exponentially in the coming years.”   

Schroder called on the General Assembly and Governor-elect Shapiro to focus on legislation and policies that will bring greater fairness, predictability, and efficiency to the Commonwealth’s civil justice system. Schroder also called on candidates for Supreme Court to address this issue in their campaigns so voters can evaluate their commitment to litigation reform.

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