Kentucky Supreme Court Rejects Medical Review Panels

Last month, the Kentucky Supreme Court reviewed a controversial 2017 law establishing state-wide medical review panels. Initially sponsored by senator and physician Ralph Alvarado, the law sought to limit medical malpractice suits in Kentucky by forcing plaintiffs to submit their claims through a state-selected medical review panel first.

Once signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin, the medical panel law took effect on June 29th, 2017. That same day, it was challenged by grieving mother Tonya Claycomb, whose child developed cerebral palsy as a result of medical malpractice three years earlier. In her claim, Ms. Claycomb argued that the law was unconstitutionally delaying her right to a speedy adjudication in civil claims.

After reviewing Ms. Claycomb’s claim, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously struck down the law, effectively abolishing medical review panels in the state of Kentucky. But why exactly was this law so damaging for those who legitimately suffered after a physician’s mistake?

How Medical Review Panels Can Halt Justice

Many states have implemented similar measures to the 2017 medical panel law and “gated” the number of medical malpractice lawsuits leveled at physicians and hospitals each year. While supporters claim that medical review panels prevent frivolous “nuisance” lawsuits and reduce state healthcare costs, there have always been sustained concerns from the legal community about the legality of medical review panels, and how they can often discourage plaintiffs from exposing real problems in the healthcare industry. Review panels also have the tendency to create a backlog of malpractice cases, which in turn costs plaintiffs thousands of dollars as they continue to pay for medical bills and wait for their case to be reviewed.

If you’ve been injured because of a doctor, hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facilities, you have the constitutional right to bring a civil case against them and get the financial recovery you deserve. Thanks to the actions of the Kentucky Supreme Court, that right has now been protected.

At Hare Wynn, our Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers have the experience and skill set to help you navigate a complex medical claim. Give us a call at (855) 997-9319 to see how we can assist with your case.

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