Medical malpractice is a serious concern that impacts thousands of Americans every year. Whether a doctor fails to diagnose a serious condition or leaves an instrument in a patient during surgery, medical malpractice can have extreme physical and financial consequences for its victims. The right to bring a lawsuit against a doctor is often the only way a patient can recover from the malpractice.
Unfortunately, in 2017, Kentucky enacted a new law that restricted the right of citizens to bring medical malpractice lawsuits against negligent medical care providers. Specifically, this new law created the requirement that anyone alleging medical malpractice would have to bring their claim before a medical review panel prior to filing a lawsuit to seek compensation. Some people hoped the law would prevent frivolous lawsuits from taking up court time.
Obviously, this law had the impact of dissuading people from pursuing medical malpractice lawsuits. Its chilling effect could have led to serious issues for medical patients across Kentucky, but, thankfully, the state Supreme Court has decided that medical review panels are unconstitutional.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has helped protect medical patients and victims of malpractice
The constitution in Kentucky provides individuals with the legal right to take claims directly to court. Forcing victims of medical malpractice to go before a medical review panel in order to seek compensation for their injuries violated that basic right of Kentucky citizens.
The state Supreme Court ruling not only undid this burdensome hurdle between victims of medical malpractice and justice, but it also made clear the fact that similar laws in the future will likely also wind up ruled unconstitutional for the same reason.
Those who attempted to file medical malpractice lawsuits and were waiting for a medical review panel to look over their case will have the ability to re-file their complaint with the circuit courts. Anyone bringing a new complaint in the future, or who filed simultaneously with the medical review panel and the court, will have the right to move forward with the circuit courts directly.
Patients deserve accountability when medical professionals injure them
People pay a lot of money to receive quality medical care. When a medical provider makes a mistake that results in injury or illness, the patient often has to deal with a substantial financial burden.
Medical malpractice lawsuits and insurance claims provide injured medical patients with compensation for their injuries. It also provides them with a form of justice, as their doctor gets held accountable for their mistakes or negligence.
Anyone who chose not to move forward with a medical malpractice claim because of the medical review panel requirement may want to explore whether it is now time to move forward with that claim process.