Kentucky Medical Malpractice Laws
Each state has their own set of medical malpractice laws in place, and it is important for patients to understand those laws and how they could affect their case. The following are the basics of the laws in Kentucky.
According to an article in Forbes, one of the most important things to know about state malpractice laws in Kentucky is just what malpractice is in the first place. Defined as any instance in which a healthcare provider “deviates from the recognized ‘standard of care’ in the treatment of a patient” (Forbes), it is viewed as a compensable legal matter (meaning that the medical provider may owe financial compensation).
In a nationally publicized piece concerning medical malpractice found in Forbes magazine in 2013, the authors opined that in any given medical malpractice case, the vast majority of patients fail to grasp definitively from a legal standpoint at the outset of a prospective medical malpractice lawsuit in Kentucky the specific nature, definition, and role of negligence in a given medical malpractice lawsuit. In short, malpractice in general, as well as negligence, is defined at the state-specific level, with Kentucky’s medical malpractice laws and statutes presenting numerous state-specific factors influencing medical malpractice claims cases filed under Kentucky’s jurisdiction, but also a litany of case and patient specific factors must be considered alongside the insight of legal counsel as well.
State Medical Negligence Definitions under the Civil Jurisdiction of Kentucky
However, at a broad-based general level and still relatively applicable to most Kentucky medical malpractice lawsuit filings, several states broadly defined malpractice as any incident or event in which a medical professional fails to adhere or live up to the routine and applicable standard of care in a given patient’s case, with an aggrieved patient ultimately finding ample cause of action to file medical malpractice lawsuits under Kentucky law, if patient. At this juncture, a patient has the foundational elements required to commence a viable medical malpractice lawsuit under Kentucky’s medical negligence-related statutes.
While patients may frequently incur damages or other hardships as the result of a given medical treatment, and in certain instances grave complications may even arise in the aftermath of a given round of medical treatment. However, plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case will ultimate be legally required to present a case to the courts that ultimately convinces the trier of the facts that a given medical professional, as well as vicariously liable insurers, are subject to the damage claims being pressed forth by a former patient.
Statutes of Limitations Relevant to Medical Malpractice Claims Case Filings in Kentucky
Per Kentucky’s revised statutes 413-140 and 413-170,Kentucky state malpractice laws in Kentucky mandates that a given claims case relating to medical negligence or an incident of suspected medical negligence be filed no less than one (1) year following the discovery of harm, or death, in instances of medical malpractice resulting in wrongful death as harming close relatives and other applicable real parties of interest. However, in the event of legitimate and documentable instances of delayed discovery of the injury or harm, per a reasonable person standard, the courts may elect to extend any negligence related action’s limitations period to five (5) years after the date of a given instances of suspected negligence or from the date of indubitable discovery of harm.
Finally, statutes under Kentucky medical malpractice limitation periods dictate all claims cases are tolled after a five (5) years, thus effectively barring claimants from recovering any damages related to a given alleged act of medical negligence should the suit be filed this deadline. Finally, children and those who suffer from cognitive handicaps are also not strictly subject to any semblance of a statute of limitation, save for the initiation of the one (1) year statutory cap on filing claims upon the return of the mental faculties of an individual, or in the more likely event that a child reaches the age of eighteen or the age of the majority per Kentucky’s medical negligence statutes.
Additional Caveats and Considerations Relevant under Kentucky State Medical Malpractice Laws
Aside from considerations of statutes of limitation as potentially barring a plaintiff from recovery, which is often the most pressing in the minds of the aggrieved patient, a litany of other elements will influence the outcome and progress of a given medical malpractice lawsuit in Kentucky.
As of 2016, the following are those most critical facets of Kentucky medical malpractice statutes and laws, including:
- Joint and Severable Liability under Kentucky Malpractice Laws: Under the state malpractice laws in Kentucky concerning those cases presenting more than one party potentially at fault or assignable as a partial proximate cause of harms, joint and several liability related statutes under Kentucky malpractice laws hold the second party and other applicable parties, whether defendants or plaintiffs, as responsible only for the portion of the legal judgment equal to the percentage of negligence assigned by the trier of the facts to all parties embroiled in medical malpractice litigation.
- The Comparative Negligence Doctrine Applicable to Medical Negligence Claims in the Jurisdiction of Kentucky: If a plaintiff or patients have aggravated, exacerbated, or somehow been the partial cause of injuries and ensuing damages, certain states adhere to a strict liability doctrine would prevent former patients from recovering any damages whatsoever. However, under Kentucky’s comparative negligence doctrine, each party is liable for the individual percentage of fault in a given claims case, and by extension, would be fiscally liable for the attached damage claim award, but only to the point and percent of their assigned degree of negligence. Finally, for patients, claims cases proceed much more comfortably in Kentucky, which permits the existence of a large degree of patient negligence in self-causing injuries or harms, yet still does not preclude the patient from attempting to file a claims case under Kentucky caw.
- Medical Expert Testimony Is Required Not before, but Essentially Part of Filing a Viable Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Kentucky
However, per Kentucky’s medical malpractice statutes, while not de jure requiring an external opinion and the testimony of a medical expert in order to present the courts with a viable medical malpractice case with merit, patients fails to realize that should the testimony substantiate or corroborate the patient’s claims case, beginning the claims case process in a Kentucky medical malpractice incident with the official concurrence of a medical expert that medical negligence did indeed occur in a given patient’s treatment will prove extremely helpful as the medical malpractice related litigation ultimately is predicated on the coherence and applicability of the evidence presented in light of any extant state-specific medical negligence tort law statutes in order for a claimant to obtain a favorable outcome, whether at trial or via settlement outside of the Kentucky courts.
- Statutory Caps on Damage Awards under Kentucky’s Medical Negligence-Related Tort Laws
To date, the state of Kentucky does not impose statutory caps or ceilings on a number of damages recoverable in a given medical malpractice lawsuit, which is frequently valued primarily based on economic damages that a patient can prove in a quantifiable manner. However, ample non-pecuniary damages, including minimally pain and suffering, are likely present in a given medical negligence case. As such, patients should be assertive n attempting to recover economic compensation, non-economic compensation, and if applicable, punitive damage payments from negligently performing medical professionals.
To determine more highly vases-specific information in light of the evidence that a given patient possesses regarding an alleged instance of medical malpractice and ensuring damages alongside the scores, if not hundreds of individual statutes that could impact a given lawsuit filing in Kentucky with the direct oversight of legal counsel.