It seems like there has been a lot of legislation in recent years trying to limit medical malpractice and other personal injury claims. These litigation limits have taken a number of forms, including various barriers to litigation and limits on the amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive in certain types of claims.
Although the trend has been for greater limits on plaintiff claims in recent years, Kentucky just scored a noteworthy victory. A recent case in the Franklin County Circuit Court struck down a new law aimed at limiting medical malpractice lawsuits.
Franklin Circuit Court Judge Strikes Down Review Board Requirement
According to the Lexington Herald and the Courier Journal, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd declared a Kentucky Law unconstitutional. The law in question, KRS Chapter 216C, required patients in medical malpractice litigation to submit their case for approval by a medical review board before proceeding. There are numerous exceptions and limitations to this requirement written into the law, but the main issue is the general requirement for a medical review board hearing before proceeding to litigation.
In the case in question, Judge Shepherd declared the law unconstitutional. He said that the law protects health care interests more than it protects the public, and that the law creates unnecessary barriers to access of the court system. “These barriers prevent the filing of claims, meritorious or not, by imposing significant delays and costs.”
What This Means for Medical Malpractice Victims
The good news is that these harsh restrictions have been lifted. If you have a claim against a medical professional or facility, your case will not have to be vetted by a medical review board.
This does not mean you should bring a frivolous case, but you will be saved significant time and cost if you do have a meritorious claim.
Although there will almost certainly be an appeal of this decision, there is no way of knowing for sure whether the ruling will stand or be overturned. In the meantime, if you think you have a claim, the best thing to do is contact an attorney right away while this law is still out of favor. Getting a claim in as soon as possible is the best way to assure you will have the best chance of efficient justice.