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Kentucky ends panel system for medical malpractice

On November 15, the Kentucky Supreme Court struck a blow on behalf of victims of medical malpractice across the Commonwealth. The Court struck down a much-decried law that forced potential litigants to go through a lengthy and cumbersome review system by finding the law violated the Kentucky Constitution.

Many malpractice and personal injury attorneys have been vocal against the 2017 law that set up the review panels for the very reason that the state’s top court pointed out: It was a system that largely denied people free and equal access to the courts.

That was precisely the intention of the law in the first place. The Kentucky Medical Association was one of the chief proponents of the 2017 law — which was put in place supposedly to stem the tide of “excessive” malpractice claims. Nursing homes, hospitals and physicians largely supported the law because it made actually filing a claim for malpractice a feat of endurance for any claimant.

Because all seven of the state’s Supreme Court justices were in agreement, there’s little room for doubt about the issues with the law. Experts say the only way that legislators can impose the panel review system they want is to get the population of Kentucky to agree to a change in the state’s constitution. Given that the review panels offer no benefit to the average individual, that’s an unlikely event.

Anyone who currently has a case pending in a review panel — which is where most medical malpractice claims over the last year have been sitting since processing is almost nonexistent — can now file their claim in court without delay.

If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, working with an experienced attorney is the best way to protect your rights and secure the compensation you need for your future.


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