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Apr 17, 2017

10 things you need to know about KY’s new medical malpractice law, SB4

Kentucky has recently passed legislation, SB4, which radically changes how medical malpractice lawsuits are handled within the Commonwealth. The new legislation calls for “Medical Review Panels,” in which a panel of three local doctors reviews cases before a plaintiff can file a lawsuit in the courts. Here is what you need to know about the new law.

  1. The panel would issue an opinion that includes one of three outcomes:
  2. The Panel will review the proposed complaint, supporting medical records, and expert and witness testimony, then give an opinion as to the merits of the case.
  3. To institute review by the new medical review panel, a copy of the proposed legal complaint and filing fees must be delivered or mailed to the Cabinet of Health and Family Services.
  4. Only by written agreement of all parties could a case bypass a medical review panel and go directly to court.
  5. Each Review Panel created under SB 4 will be made up of an attorney chairperson and three Kentucky health care providers licensed in the medical specialty in question. The attorney chairperson does not get a vote.
  6. The new law requires that any medical malpractice case brought against a health care provider must first be reviewed by a Medical Review Panel. “Health care provider” means any health care facility or provider of health care or health services and their employees. This would include nurses, doctors, owners or managers of hospitals, and nursing homes.
    1. Failure to meet appropriate standards of care was a “substantial factor” in the patient outcome
    2. Failure to meet those standards was not a substantial factor in the patient outcome
    3. Evidence doesn’t show a failure to meet appropriate standards
  7. If the Medical Review Panel has not reached an opinion or decision in 9 months from the date of filing the proposed complaint, then the plaintiff may file their complaint in court. The Medical Review Panel can continue its work to reach an opinion while a complaint is pending in state court.
  8. The current statute of limitations in Kentucky is one year from the date of the injury or death. The statute of limitations will be extended 90 days after the claimant has received the opinion of the medical review panel.
  9. The opinion of the Medical Review Panel is admissible as evidence in the trial and the panel doctors may be called as witnesses. The opinion, however, is not conclusive, and only can be used as evidence.
  10. This law will go into effect in mid-June 2017.

Read the entire bill affecting medical malpractice suits in Kentucky.

Importantly, medical malpractice cases that are filed before mid-June of this year will not be subject to this new law. If you believe you or a loved one fell victim to substandard medical care in Kentucky, you should contact Dr. Jack Tolliver immediately. Dr. Tolliver is a lawyer and former doctor who focuses his Kentucky law office exclusively on helping victims of medical malpractice. With his unique background in both law and medicine, Dr. Tolliver can quickly find evidence of medical negligence.

Our office offers free consultations, so contact us today.

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