The state Supreme Court has struck down 2017 law that required those filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to first go before a medical review panel. Only after the review panel signed off on a case was it allowed to proceed.
This is news for those who believe that the panel, which was supported by the Kentucky Medical Association and was drafted and supported by the Republican-controlled House and Senate, provided a barricade between individuals seeking justice from the court. Now plaintiffs are able to file medical malpractice lawsuits in the Circuit Courts.
What you need to know
There are a number of changes in how medical malpractice suits are handled. These include:
- Cases can proceed: Those plaintiffs who were already approved by the panel can use the panel’s ruling as part of their case. Those who were waiting for a ruling can now immediately re-file their case with the Circuit Courts.
- Those who filed with both: Some plaintiffs filed with both the Circuit Courts and the medical review panel because they knew the ruling was coming. They can now immediately focus on the Circuit Courts as well.
- Little hope for the law’s return: While there may be another approach to managing medical malpractice lawsuits, the language of the ruling is specific and makes it unlikely that a similar arrangement would survive a constitutional challenge.
- No appeals: Rulings handed down by the Circuit Courts will be the final word on the matter – there will be no appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Legal help can make the difference
Those facing medical challenges because of negligent care by medical professional should contact an attorney who has experience with medical malpractice. It is important to remember that medical staff are human and thus capable of mistakes, so it crucial that victims once again have their Constitutional right to their day in court with experienced legal guidance.