Medical Malpractice Lawyers Serving Victims throughout the Louisville Area
All states have a form of the statute of limitations in personal injury cases. When it comes to medical malpractice, the statute of limitations could be longer or shorter than the standard statute for injury claims. Some states do not have a particular statute for malpractice. However, Kentucky does.
In Kentucky, there is a separate statute of limitations for malpractice claims. This law limits the amount of time in which you must file your claim with the state’s civil court. If the initial complaint is not filed with the state by the time the statute of limitations expires, you forfeit your right to seek compensation.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Kentucky?
Per the Revised Code of Kentucky Section 413.140(1)(e), any medical malpractice claim must be filed within one year from the date of the action.
So, one might wonder what the statute means when it says that you must submit within a one-year time frame in which the action occurs. Per the statute, the cause of action accrues at the time the injury is discovered. Therefore, by the time you reasonably should have known about the injury or medical error, that is when your statute time starts. If you did not know you were injured or that an error occurred for a year after the date of the mistake, then you would still have a year to file.
What About Damage Caps?
While you have one-year to file your malpractice claim, you might wonder if the statute limits you in terms of damages or if damages are reduced by waiting too long. In Kentucky, you can collect damages for non-economic, economic, and punitive losses. There are no damage caps in Kentucky either, so you can recover what is justified based on your financial losses and other damages from the malpractice injury. In most malpractice cases, however, non-economic and economic damages are awarded. Only when the physician acts with malice can you recover punitive damages.
Requests for Dismissal Based on Statute of Limitations
In Kentucky, the overwhelming majority of Kentucky medical malpractice cases are filed within one year of when the alleged malpractice. There are, however, instances where the plaintiff will not discover the malpractice until much later. In those instances, defense attorneys will attempt to dismiss the case, claiming that the case was not timely filed. When that occurs, the plaintiff must prove to the court that he or she discovered the injury or error in a reasonable amount of time. A classic example is when a patient’s cancer is misdiagnosed. A physician may tell the patient that a test’s findings do not show any evidence of cancer or pre-cancer. Three years later, however, a new doctor correctly diagnoses the patient’s cancer, which has spread throughout his/her body, and is terminal. In that instance, the plaintiff would need to file a Complaint within our year of when the cancer was finally diagnosed.
Bottom line: It is in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney from the moment you suspect malpractice. The sooner you do, the more likely you can receive compensation and the less worry you have about the statute of limitations.