Attorney Brett Oppenheimer is renowned throughout Louisville and the rest of Kentucky as a leading medical malpractice attorney. He has built his reputation not only on incredible case results secured for his clients, but also on his deliberate focus on medical malpractice laws and news and how changes could affect his future clients. Kentucky is currently undergoing a legal shift regarding Medical Review Panels, which Mr. Oppenheimer has been following closely, including an update about the situation in November, which you can read by clicking here. The story continues to evolve many months later, and Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC bring you another important update.
Medical Review Panels in Kentucky Still Under Scrutiny
The law to create Medical Review Panels was sponsored by Kentucky state Senator Ralph Alvarado, who is also a practicing doctor, and endorsed by Governor Matt Bevin in 2017. In October of 2017, Kentucky Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd, struck down the Medical Panel Review Act on the basis that it violated thirteen sections of the Kentucky Constitution. The law remains in effect until the Kentucky Supreme Court reviews the law and renders a ruling, which is expected to be by the end of 2018.
The medical review panel has thus far been criticized as more of a hindrance than a help in the current lawsuits pending in Kentucky as depicted in recent Courier Journal articles. (You can view those full articles by clicking here and here.)
Plaintiffs who have suffered as the result of medical malpractice or medical negligence are experiencing delays and increased litigation costs in their attempts to seek justice. About 89% of the pending lawsuits filed since the formation of the Kentucky Medical Review Panels have not even been assigned to a review panel. One reason for the delay is that the state is having difficulty staffing the panels, which must consist of three medical professionals, who render opinions as to whether the case has merit, and a lawyer, who serves as a chairman but does not have a vote on the panel.
Legal Professionals Weigh In Again
Lawyers on both sides of the issue have complaints about the process. Plaintiffs and defense attorneys both cite the elongated time frame for resolution of a case. People who have alleged malpractice injuries are facing multiple years before they have the chance to see the inside of a courtroom.
The Review Panel Act was put into effect as a way to reduce so-called “frivolous” lawsuits and to attempt to reduce insurance premiums for doctors. However, in 2016 the Americans for Insurance Reform, which is a coalition of consumer and public interest groups, published a study indicating that both insurance premiums and claims against doctors are at their lowest level in 40 years when adjusted for inflation. Additionally, plaintiff attorneys cannot afford to take “frivolous” cases against medical professionals because they work on a contingent basis and make no fee unless they win the case.
Furthermore, plaintiff attorneys typically advance the expenses like expert witness fees and other miscellaneous costs for their clients in medical malpractice cases, which often exceed $100,000 per case. Experienced plaintiff attorneys turn down the vast majority of potential lawsuits due to the risk and expense of time and the money needed to fund the cases are so high. Attorneys must carefully screen potential cases and accept those involving a life-altering injury or loss of life that stem from medical negligence or errors and that meet the key factors of a medical malpractice claim.
Every Kentucky medical malpractice case must consist of three key components:
- Negligence, or a deviation from the required standard of care
- Injury or damages
- Causation, or the negligence must have caused the injury
Those who have been severely injured or have lost their lives due to medical negligence deserve representation. They also deserve timely resolution of their cases. Simply put, Medical Review Panels are not giving these individuals a fair or timely opportunity for justice.
Honest Representation for Your Kentucky Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical Review Panels could stand in your way when you are seeking fair compensation after suffering due to a doctor’s mistake. Empower your claim and improve your chances of success by working with Louisville Medical Malpractice Attorney Brett Oppenheimer of Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC. The law firm has been fighting for the wrongfully injured since 1991, resulting in a long history of high-value verdicts and settlements secured for clients in need.
Get your FREE case evaluation with Attorney Oppenheimer today by calling (502) 242-8877.