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Kentucky Supreme Court reviews malpractice rule

Kentucky law imposes deadlines for the filing of personal injury lawsuits. However, these periods often depend on the facts of a specific case. The Kentucky Supreme Court is reviewing a case that could impact other wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.

The deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations, is one year in Kentucky. The state also has an exception known as the continuous course of treatment doctrine. This allows a patient to file a lawsuit after the year has passed when the same physician who committed the malpractice continues to provide care to that patient.

In this case, the patient filed a lawsuit against two physicians and a hospital more than a year after they delivered her baby at the University of Louisville Hospital on Aug. 2, 2013. They also repaired a vaginal tear. One week following the delivery, she returned to the hospital and was diagnosed with rectovaginal fistula. Two other doctors provided treatment. Her vaginal tear was permanently corrected in Oct. 2013.

Within the one year period on Aug. 1, 2014, she sued the hospital and the physician who corrected the tear one week after she delivered the baby. She then filed an amended complaint on Oct. 20, 2014, against the two doctors who delivered her baby and performed the procedure on her vaginal tear and the hospital.

The patient claimed that the continuous course of treatment exception applied to her amended lawsuit. She argued that this exception governs when a patient receives follow-up treatment from any health care practitioner at the same facility.

The trial and appellate courts prevented the amended cause of action from proceeding. These courts ruled that she was not entitled to more time to file under the continuous course of treatment document under the facts of her treatment.

Victims of malpractice and their family must meet time periods and gather evidence to pursue their rights to damages and compensation. An attorney can help them overcome these obstacles.

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