Generally, health care providers have a duty to provide treatment to patients in line with appropriate levels of care under the circumstances. However, despite these standards, health care services can fall below a patient’s reasonable expectations in some cases. When this occurs, a patient or their family member may consider filing a doctor complaint and medical malpractice claim against a doctor.
Those who have experienced negligent or improper care from a Kentucky doctor or other healthcare professional can seek damages through the state’s medical malpractice statute, contained in Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 216. Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC can help. Contact us today.
Kentucky Medical Malpractice Statute
While Kentucky’s medical malpractice statute operates similarly to other types of personal injury claims, there are unique challenges that these complex cases pose to medical errors victims. First, the statute of limitations imposes a strict deadline for filing a doctor complaint and other healthcare workers. In Kentucky, doctor complaints must be filed within one year after the victim discovers or should have discovered that they have suffered injuries because of the claimed negligence.
Although the statute modifies the “discovery rule,” the Kentucky Supreme Court has found that the five-year statute of repose violates the state’s constitution. The ruling means that Kentucky patients have one year from the discovery date to file their claims, regardless of how much time has passed since the negligence.
Types of Kentucky Medical Malpractice Complaints
Victims pursuing a Kentucky medical malpractice claim must establish two primary elements. First, the victim must demonstrate that the negligent party provided treatment or care that deviated from the standard of care that a reasonably competent practitioner of the same class would provide under similar circumstances. Next, they must prove that the negligent conduct proximately caused their injuries and damages.
Some common types of complaints include:
- Medication errors,
- Treatment errors,
- Misdiagnosis, and
- Surgical errors.
In addition, other forms of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness that causes injury or death to a patient may result in medical malpractice liability.
Who Is Liable for Medical Malpractice?
There are many different medical professionals and facilities that can be held responsible under Kentucky’s medical malpractice law. Some typical health care providers that may be liable include:
- Physicians assistants,
- Nurse Practitioners, and
Further, healthcare facilities may be responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. In the context of medical malpractice, Kentucky defines a “health facility” as any institution that is used, operated, or designed to provide medical treatment, diagnosis, rehabilitation, or preventative care. Examples of Kentucky health care facilities include:
- Psychiatric facilities,
- Rehabilitation facilities,
- Chemical dependency programs,
- Nursing homes,
- Primary care centers,
- Outpatient clinics, and
- Home health care agencies.
Essentially, any healthcare facility that is certified or licensed to perform medical services may be held liable.
When to File a Complaint
An injury victim may seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim after establishing a provider-patient relationship and that the provider’s negligence caused the victim’s injuries. Patients can sue if they experience physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical costs, and lost work and earning capacity because of a healthcare provider’s negligence.
Where to File a Complaint
The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure (“KBML”) and other agencies create, enact, and enforce ethics and professional competence standards for certain medical providers. The KBML licenses and regulates physicians, athletic trainers, surgical assistants, acupuncturists, and physician assistants. The agency can discipline qualifying licensees for violations, including:
- Impairment because of drug or alcohol abuse,
- Failing to meet the standard of care when treating patients,
- Inappropriately prescribing medications, and
- Falsifying information
Despite handling these grievances, the KBML has discrete power, and the agency does not address many types of complaints. Moreover, the KBML does not license chiropractors, dentists, nurses, psychologists, and other health care providers. Further, the KBML cannot help patients sue health care providers for the money. In these cases, Kentucky patients should contact a lawyer to discuss their rights and remedies.
Kentucky Certificate of Merit for Medical Malpractice
The Kentucky legislature maintains specific requirements that injured patients must comply with to pursue their claims. An attorney can help patients understand the type of evidence they must present to recover damages. The evidence may include:
- Qualified expert affidavits,
- A declaration that they could not secure an expert consultation,
- A declaration that they were unable to obtain expert consultation after three separate good-faith attempts with three different experts, or
- A declaration that expert testimony is unnecessary.
There are certain cases where the situation does not require a certificate of merit. However, a lawyer can determine the evidentiary requirements in light of the circumstances.
Settlement and Litigation in Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Kentucky law does not mandate alternative dispute resolution before a claimant files a lawsuit, unlike many other states. Although the law does not require mediation or arbitration, some claimants pursue mediation as a faster way to resolve the case. During mediation proceedings, an attorney is a critical resource because they can ensure that the victim receives appropriate compensation for their injuries and losses.
In cases where the parties cannot settle their claims, the lawsuit may proceed to trial. Claimants must abide by the state’s strict filing guidelines to ensure that the court does not dismiss their claims. After the parties file the complaint and responses, they must begin the discovery process.
During the discovery process, the parties, generally through their lawyers, will gather all relevant facts, evidence, and other information necessary to present or defend their cases. If the parties still do not reach a settlement during pre-trial proceedings, the case will likely move to trial. An experienced lawyer can present a legally sound and compelling case to a judge or jury at this stage.
Damages After Kentucky Medical Negligence
An attorney can help patients quantify an appropriate amount of damages for their losses. Unlike most other states, Kentucky does not impose a statutory cap on the amount of damages a medical malpractice claimant can seek or collect. Further, the state permits punitive damages in certain limited situations.
Are You Interested in Learning More About Filing a Doctor Complaint?
If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries after being treated by a physician, reach out to the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, for immediate assistance. Our dedicated medical negligence attorney has more than a decade of experience investigating, litigating, and successfully resolving all types of doctor complaints and medical malpractice claims. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with Seth Gladstein, give us a call or complete our online contact form.