Injured Due to a Hospital Visit or Medical Negligence? Medical Malpractice Attorney Louisville KY

David Bryant Law, PLLC

Medical malpractice cases are personal injury cases, but they are different from typical personal injury cases like car accidents. 

We put our trust in hospitals, nursing homes, physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals to diagnose and treat our illnesses, conditions, and disease. 

When they provide substandard care, it impacts the trust we have in the profession and puts our health at risk. 

While this not a situation anyone ever wants to be in, victims of medical malpractice in Kentucky deserve compensation for the harm they suffer. 

At David Bryant Law, our attorneys have the experience it takes to provide you with quality legal representation. We fight for our clients, tackling these complex cases with complex issues.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free legal consultation.

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Below we provide a broad overview of important aspects of medical malpractice claims in Kentucky, including examples of medical negligence, common causes, who can face legal liability, what patients can expect in terms of damages, and how a medical malpractice lawyer or law firm pursues medical malpractice cases.

Medical Negligence Examples

Medical malpractice lawsuits emerge from medical negligence. Hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare professionals have a legal obligation to provide a minimum standard of care to patients. Many negligent acts or omissions qualify as the failure to meet that standard and can lead to injury or death. Some types of medical malpractice cases include:

  • Failure to recognize symptoms or diagnose a terminal illness or disease
  • Misdiagnosis of illness or disease
  • Surgical errors including wrong-site surgeries, wrong-patient surgeries, unneeded surgeries, and surgical leftovers
  • Anesthesia mistakes such as wrong dosage, wrong drugs, poorly labeled syringes, and improper administration
  • Inadequate aftercare or follow up after discharge
  • Failure to obtain a complete patient history
  • Medication errors such as improper administration, failure to administer medicine, and wrong prescriptions
  • Birth injuries that may lead to permanent brain damage
  • Failure to order needed lab tests, scans, and other diagnostic tests
  • Intentional neglect or abuse, often a result of or in conjunction with hospital negligence or nursing home abuse.
Medical malpractice due to anesthesia by surgeon's negligence

Causes of Medical Malpractice

Depending on the setting, the facility, and the medical professional involved, medical malpractice occurs because of a variety of factors. Some common causes, none of which are mutually exclusive, that lead to mistakes and negligence in a medical setting include:

Fatigue

Medical professionals notoriously work long hours. A nurse or doctor may be on call and also put in double shifts. The same goes for nursing assistants who work in long-term nursing care facilities. 

Insufficient rest impairs judgment, creates unsteady hands, and leads to fatigue that puts patients and residents at risk for injury, illness, or death because of mistakes.

Substance Abuse

Alcoholism and drug addiction have no class or education boundaries. A doctor, nurse, and other medical professional can struggle with substance abuse the same as others in society. 

High-stress jobs and access to highly addictive medication also contributes to the problem. Impaired medical professionals make life-threatening mistakes when diagnosing, treating, and caring for patients.

Inadequate Training

Hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities have a legal duty to train their staff properly to follow best practices. 

Those in critical positions, like surgeons, also need complete training and mentorship before they are allowed to treat patients.

Poor Communication

Hospitals have many departments. Miscommunication between them hurts patients, such as in cases of patients transferring between specialists for treatment, or in handoffs from EMTs to emergency department personnel. 

Poor communication is one of the biggest culprits for serious medical errors, such as performing surgeries on the wrong body part or on the wrong patient altogether.

Understaffing

Large healthcare conglomerates are notorious for understaffing hospitals and nursing homes, and some smaller facilities also struggle to maintain adequate staffing. 

Understaffing leads to neglect; it’s impossible for doctors, nurses, and other personnel to provide the standard of care required when their employers do not provide enough people to do the job.

Who's at Fault? Who Gets Sued?

Depending on the exact circumstances, one or more parties can be named as legally-liable parties in medical malpractice cases, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Clinics
  • Doctors
  • Medical Assistants
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Assistants

Payouts in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits: What Can You Expect?

Each medical malpractice case is different, so it’s impossible to predict the financial outcome of any lawsuit. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your case and give you a ballpark idea of what might be possible. 

As a general rule of thumb, the more severe your injury, the higher the value of your claim. Victims of medical malpractice who suffer permanent injury or illness can generally expect to receive more compensation than victims with relatively minor injuries.

If you receive compensation as a result of a settlement or jury award in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may receive compensation for a wide array of damages related to losses you have incurred as a result of malpractice. 

Examples of damages for which you may receive compensation include:

  • Medical treatment costs, including emergency room visits, surgery, diagnostic testing, aftercare, and medication.
  • Future medical expenses when malpractice causes severe injuries requiring additional surgeries and/or ongoing treatment.
  • Costs for long-term care when a victim must have around-the-clock nursing care, including in-home care or a long-term nursing care facility.
  • Rehab costs including physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health services, and any other service to help malpractice victims regain lost functions or learn how to cope with their injuries or illness.
  • Costs of transferring facilities if medical malpractice occurs in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or any other type of long-term nursing care facility
  • Lost wages from missing work due to injury or illness.
  • Estimated future lost wages when medical malpractice leads to a catastrophic injury preventing the return to work.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Reduced quality of life.
  • Loss of consortium with a spouse — which is the legal term used in tort law that describes the deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship due to injuries.

How Hard Is it to Prove Medical Malpractice? What Goes into It?

Prevailing in a medical malpractice lawsuit generally requires proving some degree of “negligence.” In the context of a medical malpractice claim, medical negligence consists of four legal “elements”:

  1. Duty
  2. Dereliction
  3. Damages
  4. Direct cause

These four elements are sometimes referred to as the “four D’s of medical malpractice”.

For a medical malpractice claim to succeed, a lawyer must prove each one of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, which is the standard of proof for a civil trial.

What this means is that we have to prove that there is a greater than 50% chance that our claim is true if we want to stand a chance of winning the case for our clients.

We’ll break each element down below.

Duty

A hospital, nursing home, doctor, nurse or other medical professional that agrees to treat a patient has a legal duty of care towards that patient.

They must provide the degree of care that would be expected of a reasonably qualified medical professional in that setting.

Dereliction

This occurs when any of the parties breach their duty towards a patient by falling short of the minimum standard of care they are obligated to provide.

Damages

Hospitals and doctors make mistakes all the time. Fortunately, not all mistakes lead to illness or injury.

Proving a claim for medical malpractice requires showing that the patient suffered actual harm.

Direct Cause

Proving medical malpractice requires showing that the medical professional’s substandard care directly caused the injury or harm the patient suffered.

“Causation” (that is, proving the link between cause and effect) is often the most contested part of a medical malpractice claim.

Proving causation almost always requires having medical experts on your side who can explain how the at-fault medical professional’s actions or failure to act directly led to an illness or injury.

Do You Need Helping Proving Medical Malpractice in Louisville KY?

If you think you or a loved one are a victim of medical malpractice or medical negligence, contact our law firm for a free consultation to review your options. We'll answer your questions and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

How Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Are Handled in Kentucky

How medical malpractice and medical negligence cases are handled by Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers

The procedures for pursuing medical malpractice lawsuits vary from state-to-state. In Kentucky, you must file a lawsuit to recover for medical malpractice within one year of the date of injury or the date you discover the injury and its cause.  

At the time of filing your lawsuit, you must also file a report from an expert witness who has reviewed the relevant medical records and will testify that the defendant(s) deviated from the standard of care in treating the plaintiff and that such deviation caused the plaintiff injury.

It is important to act quickly once you discover malpractice as it will take time for your attorney to gather the necessary evidence, consult experts, and file a lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in KY

Under Kentucky law, patients injured by medical malpractice typically have one year from the date of injury to take legal action. 

This one-year time limit comes with some caveats:

  • In the event a patient does not immediately discover the injury or illness, or its link to a medical error, Kentucky law has a “discovery rule” that permits the “clock” to begin running upon the “discovery” of the injury and/or the link between the malpractice and injury. 
  • Kentucky has a five-year “statute of repose,” which is an absolute time limit on filing a lawsuit. Regardless of when a patient discovers harm, the patient cannot take legal action five years beyond the date of injury.
  • Children and people who have mental handicaps may not be subject to the statute of limitations or statute of repose for Kentucky medical malpractice cases.

Caps on Damages

Many states place a cap on the amount of compensation a medical malpractice victim or victims can receive for injuries and health complications. 

Kentucky does not have a cap on damages for medical malpractice cases, so in principle, a client/patient can recover all the economic and non-economic losses related to the injury or illness sustained.

Tackling a Medical Malpractice Case with a Louisville Injury Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases in Kentucky are highly complex cases. The best thing you can do when you think you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice is to contact an experienced Louisville medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation and case evaluation.

You’ll want an attorney who specializes in these types of cases and has the experience — one who will fight the insurance companies on your behalf — to discuss the details of your injury or illness and to provide you with experienced legal advice about the best path forward for your circumstances.

That’s us.

Call our office if you want to see how our attorneys can help you today with a free consultation about your case.

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