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Kentucky Medical Malpractice Review Panels Ruled Unconstitutional

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Kentucky enacted a Medical Review Panels Act in 2017 that required medical malpractice claimants, including in nursing home negligence cases, to submit their case to a panel of health care providers and an attorney for review before filing a lawsuit. In some cases this caused up to as much as a nine month wait for claimants before an injury or death victim could file suit.

In November of 2018, however, these medical review panels were ruled as unconstitutional by the Kentucky Supreme Court. The requirement that medical malpractice claimants (including in nursing home cases) get "approval" from these panels directly contradicted Kentucky's own constitution (Section 14), which states that every person has access to the courts "without... delay." People in Kentucky are supposed to have a right to "immediate access to courts," yet the law created a mandatory delay. It did allow claimants to bypass the review panel, but only if the defendants agreed to binding arbitration or bypassing the review panel process.

A family who had brought a KY medical malpractice lawsuit challenged the law in 2018, claiming that before the panel law was enacted they could have filed their medical malpractice claim immediately following their child's severe birth injury, and that this review panel requirement added another layer to the already lengthy process. The child birth injury victim in that case has severe brain damage and cerebral palsy, which requires lifelong and expensive care.

The ruling to strike down the medical review panels is an important decision for victims of medical malpractice, including injuries from labor and delivery, as well as for victims of nursing home abuse, neglect, injury or wrongful death. If you or a loved one think you have a medical negligence or nursing home case, contact Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP. There is no charge or obligation to discuss your case to see if it justifies investigation or a lawsuit.


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