Updated July 30th 2020
Medical malpractice, or “med mal” in its short form, is one of the most upsetting and traumatic experiences a patient can go through. Medical malpractice is a term used to describe negligence or easily avoidable mistakes in medical treatment, which results in harming rather than helping a patient.
Victims of medical malpractice can suffer from additional injuries, or, in the worst-case scenarios, death. Fortunately, victims of medical malpractice don’t have to accept what’s been done to them. A Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer, such as the attorneys here at Dyer, Garofalo, Mann, & Schultz, can help.
While a med mal error isn’t necessarily a criminal violation of the law, a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer can help victims of medical malpractice to go to court for a civil lawsuit. That means that a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer helps victims to acquire financial compensation for what was done, rather than send a guilty party to jail. But how does a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer do this?
Filing for Medical Malpractice in Kentucky
Medical malpractice is defined as “medical negligence” that harms a patient. Med mal can occur in several ways, but the most common types of medical malpractice that a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer would address are things such as:
- Injuries to mother or child sustained during birth
- Prescription of the wrong medication or in incorrect doses
- Poor or unacceptable quality of medical treatment
- Misdiagnosis resulting in the wrong treatment or a lack of treatment
You should seek the guidance of a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer and begin your medical malpractice lawsuit within one year of sustaining the injury. There is a statute of limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits, and a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer will not have the case recognized by the courts if it has been over a year since the incident.
A Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer can also help you to sue without any “caps” to med mal damages. This means that in addition to the personal injury or wrongful death amounts, pain, suffering, lost wages, permanent disability, and even punitive damages are all possible additions to medical malpractice financial damages.
However, in 2017, state law changed and made things much more difficult for medical malpractice victims and the Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers who might help them.
How Kentucky Panels Kept Away Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The state of Kentucky introduced a new “gatekeeper” for medical malpractice lawsuits in the form of a medical review panel. Previously, all a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer and med mal victim had to do in a case of medical malpractice was notify the defendants of a lawsuit. The Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer then went to court with the victim to seek med mal damages.
However, with the new law, no medical malpractice lawsuit can move forward without an evaluation by a selected panel. The panel theoretically had 30 days to review evidence submitted, medical records, and even hear witness testimony. If the panel did not see grounds for a med mal case, the Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer and client would not be allowed to move forward to court with a medical malpractice lawsuit.
This new review panel had been created, according to the state, to prevent “meritless” medical malpractice lawsuits. There was a feeling that Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers were exploiting too many members of the medical community because Kentucky had no “caps” on just how much a medical malpractice lawsuit could potentially gain in damages.
As a result, Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers, were presented new obstacles that made it much more difficult for them and their clients to acquire rightful compensation. Medical malpractice lawsuits and the Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers who pursued these cases were hamstrung.
What New Laws Mean for Kentucky Med Mal
In December of 2018, medical malpractice law in Kentucky changed, and the Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer community found themselves on solid footing again. The Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer community challenged medical Review Panel Act as unconstitutional, and the challenge to med mal cases went all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer community argued that the Review Panel Act delayed a medical malpractice victim’s access to a court. In theory, a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer, or any other type of lawyer and client, should immediately be able to petition for their “day in court” if all legal protocol was observed.
The Kentucky Supreme Court, unanimously, found the medical malpractice review panel unconstitutional. The former setup denied a med mal victim any court rights until an outside entity (the review panel) with no official ties to the legal system had their say on the validity of a medical malpractice suit.
The only way that the medical malpractice review panel could be bypassed was if a med mal victim and the defendant both agreed to forgo the med mal review panel. And even if the medical malpractice review panel was theoretically supposed to provide an assessment for a med mal case’s validity within 30 days, they could delay an answer by up to nine months. It was only if no final recommendation was available after nine months that a med mal victim could bypass the review panel and go straight to arranging a trial. The act was struck down, though this doesn’t mean that it might not be reworked and reinstituted into Kentucky law in the future.
Thanks to this change, med mal victims in Kentucky now have fewer barriers to seeking proper justice and compensation when they have been hurt by medical negligence.
Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice?
– Injuries to mother or child sustained during birth
– Prescription of the wrong medication or in incorrect doses
– Poor or unacceptable quality of medical treatment
– Misdiagnosis resulting in the wrong treatment or a lack of treatment
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- Understanding Kentucky Medical Malpractice
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Prior to forming Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz, Doug worked as a bodily injury claims adjuster for a large insurance company. This unique experience has been a tremendous asset to Doug in his fight to achieve maximum cash settlements for his clients in minimum time. Since departing from the insurance company, Doug has dedicated his entire legal career to helping injured clients when they need it the most.