If you are like others here in Kentucky and across the country, then you probably put a great deal of trust in the doctors, nurses and other professionals tasked with ensuring that you remain healthy and that you achieve a full recovery from an illness or injury. Of course, there may be only so much that your doctors can do for certain injuries and illnesses, but as long as they do their best and meet the applicable standard of care, you must accept that fate.
However, when medical professionals let you down and betray your trust by failing to meet that standard of care, and you suffer serious harm as a result, then you should be able to hold those believed at fault liable. If, after a careful review of your circumstances, you find that filing a medical malpractice claim would be appropriate, you believe that you could move forward and exercise your right to pursue compensation and justice through the civil courts.
Legislature passes the Medical Review Panel Act
In 2017, the Kentucky legislature passed and enacted a law called the Medical Review Panel Act. In it, the legislature required anyone wanting to file a medical malpractice claim to first present his or her case before a medical review panel. The objective of the act and the review panels was to render an opinion regarding of whether an individual such as you had enough evidence to proceed with a medical malpractice claim.
If the panel failed to render an opinion within nine months, you could move forward with your court claim. The act prevented Kentucky's citizens from having quick access to the judicial system, which is contrary to the state's constitution. When someone else challenged the act at the trial court level, the judge ruled it unconstitutional. Then an appeals court reversed that decision.
The Kentucky Supreme Court makes a decision
Since the question involved whether a state law contradicted the state's constitution, the Kentucky Supreme Court agreed to review the case. To make a long story short, the court agreed with the trial court judge that the act is unconstitutional. It ruled that the relevant section of the state's constitution applies not only to the judiciary, but to the legislature as well.
What this means is that you may no longer have to go through the medical review panel process in order to gain access to the courts to file your claim against the medical professional or professionals that caused you irreparable harm.