Although it is common knowledge in the legal world, many victims of medical malpractice do not realize that the time in which to file a lawsuit against the doctor or other medical professional who caused severe harm is extremely limited. Once that limited time period has run, there is nothing that can be done. Throwing oneself on the mercy of the court may result in a sympathetic nod, but that is it. This is why it is crucial to contact an experienced Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney as soon as possible after an injury has occurred.
Under Kentucky law, a medical malpractice case must be brought within one year of the time that the injury occurred or from the point where it reasonably should have been discovered. The reasonable discovery rule takes into account that there are injuries that a victim will not know about until there are outward signs. For example, a doctor may leave a medical sponge inside a patient, which sits for six weeks without any outward signs of trouble that are detectable. After the patient develops a severe infection, medical exams would likely then reveal the presence of the foreign body and the clock would begin to run. If the victim is a minor, then the statute of limitations is stayed until the victim is 18 years of age. When the patient is not of sound mind, then the statute of limitations is stayed until the person no longer is considered mentally or emotionally disabled.
There is a limitation of five years imposed on the time in which to file a medical malpractice suit, suggesting that there is a set restriction that will apply even if the injury defies discovery, the victim is a minor, or some other justification for the stay exists. However, Kentucky case law suggests that this limitation is unconstitutional and might be overturned if challenged straight on.
One of the most important things to realize about the statute of limitations is that this is the time period in which the lawsuit must be filed. There are many things that must be done in a medical malpractice case, including finding an expert who is prepared to testify against the medical professional, finding the evidence to support the case, and identifying witnesses. It is important to note that Kentucky does not require a medical expert to certify that the case has merit before the legal action is filed. However, this expert will be required at trial. Although a number of these things can be done after the case has been filed, which means that there is some flexibility, many attorneys will not take on a case where there is a short period of time remaining before the statute of limitations runs out. One of the reasons for this is that the attorney must understand what obstacles he will face at trial, so he will need to see medical records before filing a case. These records might not be readily available, which may make some attorneys hesitant to accept a case where there is little time remaining.
An important fact to remember about medical malpractice law in Kentucky is that the current movement towards tort reform that has restricted victims’ rights in other states has not impacted medical malpractice law here, which means that the statute of limitations remains unchanged in recent history and there are no caps on medical malpractice lawsuits.
Murphy and Associates PLC Fights for the Rights of Medical Malpractice Victims
When a person is injured as the result of a mistake made by a revered medical professional, it may be difficult to blame the doctor or other individual in whom the patient has placed his trust. However, it is important to realize that this type of negligence can lead to a lifetime of suffering and loss of quality of life. The knowledgeable and dedicated Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Murphy & Associates understand this reality and are ready to do everything possible to get you the compensation that you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at (502) 205-2097 or (866) 884-6587. We only receive our legal fee if we recover compensation for you.