Do I have a case?
Kentucky patients expect that their doctors and hospitals will treat them with care, competence, and respect. But sometimes, medical providers fail to do their jobs—and they end up hurting their patients more than helping them.
When this happens, it can lead to a lifetime of pain, health complications, and outrageous medical bills for the victim. If you believe you have been hurt by medical malpractice in Kentucky, you should understand what makes a winning case, how our courts work in Kentucky, and when you should contact an experienced malpractice attorney.
What is medical malpractice?
Simply put, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or lab technician, causes harm to a patient. It can happen when a professional actually does something that hurts a patient (like when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part) or fails to do something, which then leads to suffering (like when a technician misses a clear sign of cancer). These kinds of mistakes and errors are examples of medical negligence.
When a negligent medical professional fails to deliver the standard of care that other professionals would give their own patients in similar circumstances, and the mistake results in harm to the patient, it is likely a case of malpractice and you should contact an attorney with medical experience.
Do I have a case?
If you received medical treatment in Kentucky and the outcome wasn’t what you expected, it may not necessarily be a result of medical malpractice. Some undesirable outcomes are due to the risk factors involved with a certain procedure or treatment. For instance, if you undergo hip surgery and experience numbness afterward, this may just be one of the risks involved with the surgery.
In Kentucky, there are four basic elements of negligence that must be present to prove you were hurt because of medical malpractice:
- There was an established duty to the patient. Once you have created a relationship with a doctor, his or her duty is then to treat you based on the standard of care that similar doctors would follow.
Example: When a pregnant patient goes to the hospital to delivery her baby, she expects her doctor to carefully supervise the birthing process and intervene if any complications arise.
- Someone breached their duty to the patient. When your doctor fails to provide you with proper care, he or she has not upheld their duty to you.
Example: During a pregnant patient’s delivery, the baby begins to show clear signs of distress and needs an emergency C-section. Despite a duty to act on the emergency, the doctor fails to perform the procedure.
- The breach in duty caused direct injury. The doctor’s failure to provide acceptable care must have directly injured you. This is often the most difficult piece to prove in a medical malpractice case because there are often a number of reasons why a patient might experience unexpected outcomes.
Example: As a result of the doctor failing to perform a timely C-section, the baby develops a lifelong birth injury like cerebral palsy. In order for this to be a case a medical malpractice, there must be proof that the birth injury was a direct cause of the delayed C-section, not some other condition or circumstance.
- The injury must significantly impact quality of life. The mistake or error may leave you unable to work and provide for your family, you may be faced with a lifetime of expensive medical treatments, or your life expectancy may be substantially shortened. The court will need clear evidence of these circumstances in order to figure out how much you may be owed.
Example: A child with a birth injury like cerebral palsy will lead a difficult life. He will need expensive treatments to help overcome developmental delays or disabilities, he may miss out on a lifetime of work, and his lifespan may be significantly shorter. Clearly, the medical mistake will severely impact his wellbeing for a lifetime.
If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, we encourage you to contact an experienced attorney who can review your case. As both a physician and lawyer, Dr. Jack Tolliver has the medical and legal knowledge to personally review a client’s medical records to evaluate his or her case.
Medical malpractice in Kentucky
Each state has its own rules for medical malpractice cases, so it’s important you understand what specific limitations and timelines you must follow in Kentucky to file and pursue a potential claim.
Patients who have been hurt in Kentucky must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within one year of discovering the injury (or within one year of when the injury should have reasonably been discovered). This is called a statute of limitations, and it prevents many victims from being able to file a lawsuit. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, you should contact a law firm as soon as possible to avoid being barred from filing a claim.
Importantly, children are not necessarily held to this one-year restriction. Babies or children hurt because of medical negligence may have up until their 18th birthday to file a claim.
Kentucky is one of the few states in the U.S. that has not undergone tort reform. That means there aren’t medical review panels set up for malpractice cases, which can significantly delay the financial help a victim may need for essential treatment and medication. It also means that there is no cap on damages, so victims who have been tremendously hurt will be able to get the full financial compensation they need and deserve.
Steps of a medical malpractice lawsuit
Lawsuits can be exhausting for Kentucky malpractice victims who are already suffering. Because of their complexity, cases can take years to settle and can be quite costly. But don’t let that discourage you from pursuing a lawsuit. If you have been hurt because of medical negligence, you deserve compensation—and your case may help others avoid being hurt in the future.
Dr. Jack Tolliver knows how stressful cases can be for victims, so he and his team provide clients with emotional support along with legal help. Our firm also works on a contingency fee basis, so we never pass on costs or expenses unless we recover damages. There is no cost to you until we succeed.
There are five steps in a typical medical malpractice lawsuit:
Step 1: Investigation
Dr. Tolliver’s unique background as both a lawyer and doctor is especially valuable during this first step: he is able to personally review every client’s medical records and use his training and experience as a physician to quickly evaluate a case and find signs of medical malpractice.
If he decides to further investigate the case, our firm will contact medical experts to review the patient’s records as well. Because of Dr. Tolliver’s medical background and reputation within the legal community, our firm is able to work with highly skilled medical experts to get the best opinions on a patient’s situation.
Dr. Tolliver and his associates will compare the medical experts’ opinions with published medical literature and the patient’s records to determine whether medical negligence has clearly occurred.
Step 2: Filing Suit
If Dr. Tolliver and his associates agree that the patient has a case, we prepare and file a lawsuit for the client. Once this happens, any medical professionals involved in the case will be notified that a suit has been filed against them.
Step 3: Discovery
At this stage, each party in the case will send written questions to each other and ask for any documents related to the case. Both sides will begin collecting depositions, which are formal statements taken outside of the courtroom. This helps us see how the other side will argue the case in trial. We prepare our clients to answer any questions as well to lessen the stress of this process.
Our best medical experts become involved again at this point. They provide depositions for the other side, and we collect them from the defendant’s experts, too. This is another step where Dr. Tolliver’s medical background is extremely valuable: hired medical experts can make mistakes, and with Dr. Tolliver’s years of medical experience, he can see these errors and strengthen a client’s case.
Step 4: Negotiation/Settlement
Most medical malpractice cases are settled outside of court, which is good news for our clients—it means they don’t have to face the long, emotionally draining process of a trial. During this step, we will show the defense counsel the clear evidence of medical negligence and work to agree upon fair compensation for our client.
Step 5: Trial
If we believe our client isn’t offered the compensation he or she deserves, we will take the case to trial. We prepare exhibits; meet with the client, experts, and witnesses to ensure they are confidently prepared to answer any questions; and shape our arguments so the jurors can clearly grasp our client’s circumstances.
The jury’s ability to understand a medical malpractice victim’s history and condition is essential. A jury of everyday people will be asked to digest complex medical information—and the right lawyer will know how to prepare a case that is easily understood by the jury. Once again, Dr. Tolliver’s medical background becomes vital during this step: as a former medical school professor and seminar leader on subjects like neonatal resuscitation, he has spent countless hours teaching others about medicine.
Helping victims of medical malpractice is all we do at our firm, so our clients can be confident that our trial preparation is careful, extensive, and thorough. Although no lawyer can guarantee success, Dr. Tolliver’s trial record speaks to our firm’s strength in the courtroom. He and his associates have recovered over $300,000,000 in damages for their clients.
Call us today for a free case consultation
Dr. Jack Tolliver is a successful physician and medical malpractice lawyer who understands the complexities of both hospitals and courtrooms in Kentucky.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a medical mistake, we encourage you to contact our firm. With our team’s medical experience, we can thoroughly and quickly review your case at no charge. If we accept your case, we will pursue maximum compensation. We never pass on costs and expenses if we do not recover damages.
By seeking the maximum legal recourse against negligent physicians and hospitals, together we can help prevent future medical malpractice.
Serving clients across Kentucky, including Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Covington, Hopkinsville, Richmond, Florence, Georgetown, Henderson, Elizabethtown, Ashland, Pikeville, Frankfort, Mt. Sterling, and Paducah.