Medical Malpractice Review Board Declared Unconstitutional

Medical Malpractice Review Board Declared Unconstitutional

In 2017, Republican state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, an emergency room doctor, sponsored a reform bill that sparked great controversy in the medical community. The new policy stated that a panel of doctors needed to review a medical malpractice claim before it could go to court. Republican Governor Matt Bevin hoped this law would encourage plaintiffs and defendants to settle their cases outside of court. However, it took the panels, which was comprised of three health care professionals and one non-voting attorney, over nine months to evaluate a single claim. By August 2018, the Medical Malpractice Review Panel was backlogged by over 450 claims.

The Medical Review Panels Act is Ruled Unconstitutional

In 2014, Ezra Claycomb was born with severe birth-related injuries, including brain damage and cerebral palsy, that were the result of medical malpractice. His parents sued to block the Medical Review Panels Act, and a circuit judge agreed the new law was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, Gov. Bevin appealed the decision and took the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court. To his dismay, the court also ruled that the law is unconstitutional because it prevents plaintiffs from accessing the courts. Specifically, it counters Section 14 of Kentucky’s Constitution which states that every person has access to the courts “without…delay.” As Chief Justice John Minton explained, “All branches of government can oppress the people and such oppression must be guarded against."

For now, the process of reviewing medical malpractice claims returns to the state courts, but Senator Alvarado is already planning his next move. He claims that “Kentucky’s health care system has been weighted down with frivolous malpractice lawsuits and today’s ruling is only going to allow this problem to continue.” His new pre-filed bill is targeting Section 54 of Kentucky’s constitution directly.  If this tort reform passes, the General Assemble will be able to set a revised statute of limitations for civil actions involving personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage.

Have You Been Injured by a Health Care Professional? Call Today.

If you’re ready to take legal action against a negligent medical practitioner, look no further than the Lexington medical malpractice attorneys at Goeing Geoing & McQuinn PLLC. Our legal team has a comprehensive understanding of the protocols and regulations that define this complicated legal field. We also stay updated on changing laws and policies that may impact your path to restitution.

You can trust our legal team to fight with your best interests at heart. We can investigate your case, research the negligent medical practitioner’s career history, and negotiate with shrewd insurance company representatives on your behalf. With our help, you can secure a positive case outcome that maximizes your claim.

Contact Goeing Goeing McQuinn, PLLC at (859) 534-9327 to schedule a consultation.

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