The Kentucky Supreme Court has struck down the law that required all medical malpractice lawsuits to first be reviewed by a medical review panel before going to court. Drafted by the Republican-led Senate and House in 2017 and supported by the Kentucky Medical Association, the premise of the bill was to avoid unnecessary or frivolous medical malpractice cases from clogging up the Circuit Courts.
Critics saw a different aim, claiming that the panel was simple a barricade between citizens and their constitutional right to seek justice in court. Now medical malpractice plaintiffs are able to once again file lawsuits in the Circuit Courts. Rulings by the CC will be the final with no opportunity to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court.
How this effects the process
The impact of the court’s decision will impact all current and future cases. After the ruling:
- Plaintiffs whose cases were heard by the panel can use the panel’s findings as part of their case for the Circuit Courts
- Cases currently considered by the panel can now immediately proceed to the Circuit Courts
- Those who filed with both the panel and the courts simultaneously in anticipation of the ruling can now just pursue the Circuit Courts
- Based on the specific language regarding the constitutionality of a medical review panel, it is unlikely that the concept of panels will be revisited at a later date
Attorneys help victims get the justice they deserve
This ruling has created quite a stir in the news. It is important to remember that medical personnel are human and make mistakes. This coupled with potential issues of institutional oversights and errors can mean that some needing help receive the opposite. Attorneys with experience handling medical malpractice can help to ensure that victims receive the compensation that they deserve.