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Medical malpractice panels eliminated

The state Supreme Court recently ruled that those seeking medical malpractice lawsuits need not go before a medical review panel. This overturns the 2017 law that required panel approval before a case was allowed to proceed to trial.

The opinion was written by Chief Justice John Minton, who wrote: "All courts shall be open and every person for an injury done to him in his lands, goods, person or reputation shall have remedy by due course of law and right and justice administered without sale, denial or delay." According to local reports, the court’s other justices all agreed with the findings, but three signed concurring opinions that added additional reasons for the overturn.

Panels supported by medical professionals

The 2017 law was enacted after Republicans took control of the state’s House and Senate. The governor then signed it. It was a measure that had long been sought by medical providers, elder care facilities, physicians and other medical professionals. Their argument was that Kentucky does not have any sort of meaningful tort reform, which makes the medical system prone to higher costs and what they viewed as frivolous lawsuits. However, the ruling by the Supreme Court pretty clearly debunked this line of thinking.

How this law changes things

There are immediate changes in how medical malpractice suits are handled:

Cases can proceed: All cases can proceed regardless of whether the panel approved or was deliberating over the case. Because the ruling was expected, some attorney filed cases with the court at the same time as the panel. Plaintiffs can now focus on the court case.

No chance for appeals: There will be no appeals of the rulings handed down by the Circuit Courts.

Legal recourse now available to all

Those suffering from indifferent or injurious medical care are advised to speak with a personal injury attorney with experience handling medical malpractice. Victims should remember that medical personnel are human and do make mistakes, which can cause permanent damage, time away from work and even death. Now Kentuckians are once again able to exercise their Constitutional right to justice.

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Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold

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Richmond, KY 40475

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