We trust surgeons and other doctors to hold our lives in their hands. Medical providers have a duty to their patients to uphold a certain standard of care. Surgeons are highly trained to comply with certain medical guidelines and procedures. Mistakes happen, and not every mistake or issue that happens during surgery is malpractice. But when surgeons are careless or distracted, they can injure their patients and leave them with long-lasting surgery complications. In severe cases, surgery complications can be fatal. If you or your loved one suffered surgery complications because your surgeon or the healthcare provider was negligent, you have the right to be compensated for your pain.
What Are Some Common Surgery Complications?
When a surgeon makes a mistake during surgery, it can happen in a wide variety of ways. Signs of surgery complications include unusual pain, infection, allergic reactions, etc. Some surgical complications happen more frequently than others, however.
Doctors and nurses must take care that the surgery room and tools are as clean as possible. They must pay attention to hygiene and prepare the room properly before surgery. However, infections can still occur before or after surgery.
Organ or Nerve Damage
A surgeon can injure or nick organs or nerves during surgery.
The anesthesiologist is another highly-trained doctor. They must be careful not to administer too much or too little anesthesia to the patient. They must also be aware of the patient’s allergies.
Items Left Behind
Surgeons and nurses use a lot of tools during procedures. If they do not keep track of the tools they use, they could accidentally leave a tool, sponge, or other items inside the patient’s body.
There have been instances of surgeons performing the wrong procedure or surgery on the wrong patient. They are called “never events”—meaning errors that should never happen.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is the amount of time someone has to file a lawsuit after an injury happens. In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for medical errors claims is one year. Someone who suffered surgery complications has one year from the date of the injury, or the date they should have known they were injured, to file a claim. If someone tries to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations runs out, a court will likely dismiss the case. It’s very important to take legal action as soon as possible if you have surgery complications in Kentucky.
If your loved one died from surgery complications, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim. In Kentucky, the estate representative must file the suit, but family members directly benefit. The statute of limitations for these lawsuits is also one year in Kentucky.
How Do I Sue Over Surgery Complications in Kentucky?
Your Louisville injury attorney will handle all of the legal aspects of your medical errors claim. Compiling all medical records and other documentation in these cases can be a huge task. However, it is a crucial part of building a strong argument for compensation.
In Kentucky, plaintiffs must file a certificate of merit along with their complaint to begin their lawsuit. In the certificate, the plaintiff declares that they have consulted a qualified expert about the facts of the case, and the expert finds a reasonable basis for a medical errors claim.
Expert witnesses are necessary for almost every medical errors claim. Expert testimony helps jurors understand the medical issues in the case. It is also crucial in establishing the necessary standard of care that the health provider neglected to provide.
A doctor’s negligence during surgery can happen for any number of reasons, including:
- Insufficient training;
- Not having enough support staff;
- Performing surgery under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Fatigue from being overworked;
- Lack of communication between hospital staff; and
- Prescription errors.
Your attorney will investigate the circumstances of your claim and work to prove the doctor’s negligence through all of the documentation and testimony.
Depending on who the defendants are, they may be able to negotiate a settlement without having to go to court. Kentucky does not make it mandatory for healthcare providers to have medical malpractice insurance. If they do have insurance, your lawyer will likely try to negotiate a settlement first. If your lawyer cannot get you a fair settlement through negotiations, they will have to litigate the lawsuit for a jury to decide.
Compensation in Kentucky Medical Errors Claims
Some states limit the amount of damages a malpractice victim can receive. In Kentucky, there is no cap on medical negligence damages. Victims of surgery complications can recover all of their medical expenses and losses related to the defendant’s negligence, including pain and suffering.
If more than one defendant is responsible for your injuries, they share the financial liability. Kentucky is a “pure comparative fault” state. This means the jury assigns a proportion of fault to each defendant, and each party then owes a percentage of the damages based on their percentage of fault. The plaintiff could also be at fault. To illustrate pure comparative fault, suppose that the plaintiff’s damages total $100,000. Then suppose that the jury finds the surgeon is 80% liable and the victim’s employer is 20% liable. In this case, the surgeon owes the plaintiff $80,000, and the employer owes $20,000 for a total of $100,000. If the plaintiff is somehow responsible for their own injuries, their percentage of fault is subtracted from the amount of damages they would otherwise recover.
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC Is Your Louisville Injury Lawyer
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC is ready to fight for your rights. Seth Gladstein is an experienced medical negligence trial attorney. He has worked on both sides of the table and already knows how defendants and insurance companies think. Now he uses that unique perspective to help his clients obtain successful results in their malpractice claims. We also help injured people recover compensation for other types of negligence, such as motor vehicle accidents, nursing home abuse, and workplace accidents. We will work to get you the financial compensation you need to move forward with your life after your injuries. Contact Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, to schedule your initial consultation.