Hospitals, medical clinics, and medical professionals are held to a certain medical standard of care when it comes to treating patients. When they breach that standard of care and a patient is injured as a result, a medical malpractice claim may be appropriate.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligent actions of medical workers, contact a Lexington medical malpractice lawyer at the law firm of Gary C. Johnson, P.S.C., to schedule a free initial consultation. We know that medical malpractice is sometimes hard to recognize, but our attorneys can help. Our legal team will review your claim, medical records, and injuries and go over the strengths and weaknesses of your case and recovery options.
Why Choose A. Lexington Medical Malpractice Lawyer From Our Law Firm?
- Proving the cause of your injuries is critical for successful medical malpractice claims. Our personal injury lawyers in Lexington work closely with experts from many medical specialties to determine if a member of your medical team made a mistake causing you serious health problems or death.
- Our Lexington medical malpractice attorneys have extensive knowledge and understanding of medical malpractice issues and the medical standard of care. Their experience with proof of liability in close medical injury cases gives clients an advantage when it comes to settlement negotiations and litigation.
- Our accident attorneys in Lexington represent their medical negligence clients on a contingency fee basis so that they do not have to pay any attorneys’ fees until they have settled their claims or successfully secured financial compensation at trial.
Elements of Negligence In A Medical Malpractice Case
There are four basic elements of negligence concerning medical malpractice claims in Kentucky, but first, we want to define the medical standard of care because the term will come up in the definitions below.
The medical standard of care is the yardstick by which medical malpractice cases are conducted. These cases will hinge on whether or not the medical professional upheld the standard medical care required for the situation. Typically, and this is paraphrased, the medical standard of care is defined as the type and level of care that a reasonably skilled and competent medical professional with a similar background and in the same medical community would have provided under similar circumstances that led to the malpractice incident.
- Duty of care. There must have been a doctor-patient relationship established. If the medical malpractice victim was a patient of the medical provider, then this is sufficient to establish that there was a duty of care and that the medical professional of care should have been upheld.
- Breach of duty. The second step is showing that the medical professional breached their duty of care, and there are numerous ways this can occur. This can include a doctor failing to diagnose a patient, a misdiagnosis, medication errors, anesthesia errors, and more.
- Causation. After establishing that there was a breach of duty on the part of the medical professional, it must be shown that this breach of duty is what caused the patient’s injuries.
- Damages. Finally, the patient must have sustained some sort of monetary loss as a result of malpractice and subsequent injuries or illness.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim in Kentucky is limited. The medical malpractice statute of limitations for the Commonwealth is one year from the date of the alleged malpractice incident (Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.140(1)(e)). The language specifically says that the claim must be filed within one year “after the cause of the action accrued,” but we need to define “accrued.”
The law goes on to state that the injury will have accrued from the time it is first discovered or, through the exercise of reasonable care, should have been discovered by the claimant. In other words, the claim must be filed within one year from when the individual knew or should have known through reasonable diligence that they were harmed by a medical error.
There is an overall statute of repose in place that states that all medical malpractice claims must be filed within five years from the date the alleged malpractice actually occurred, regardless of when the individual discovered the injury or illness.
In the event a minor sustains an injury or illness caused by malpractice, the statute of limitations will be paused until that individual turns 18 years of age or marries. When an individual turns 18 or marries, they will have one year to file the medical malpractice claim.
Common Types Of Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle
Our Lexington personal injury lawyers have represented patients in all types of medical malpractice actions for more than 40 years. See below for examples of the types of cases and medical errors that we frequently handle.
- Failure to diagnose the risk of heart attack or stroke
- Often, the signs and symptoms of stroke or heart attack look very similar to other illnesses. Additionally, women tend to present symptoms for these types of incidents differently than men do. Medical professionals should always rule out these major health incidents early in the treatment
- Failure to diagnose cancer in time to receive proper treatment
- Timely diagnosis of cancer is essential in order for individuals to begin treatment and the recovery process. Even a failure to diagnose cancer in a few weeks or months could be detrimental.
- Emergency room errors
- Even though the emergency room is a busy place, medical professionals should still conduct full examinations in order to properly diagnose individuals in the ER.
- Failure to order testing
- Doctors may try to save time by not ordering certain tests, but the failure to order testing could result in malpractice if the failure equates to an inadequate standard of medical care.
- Failure to accurately interpret test results
- Most tests should be interpreted by a radiologist or other trained professional. However, there are times when doctors or nurses attempt to interpret test results and do so inaccurately.
- Anesthesia errors
- Anesthesia is used to carry out a number of procedures inside of a medical setting, but the medications used for this process are dangerous period failure to use the correct amounts of anesthesia medication could result in significant health complications, as could the failure to monitor a patient’s vital signs while they are under anesthesia.
- Negligent follow-up care
- Medical professionals are required to follow up with patients after procedures are completed. This includes ensuring their vital signs are stable and that they are progressing as expected.
- Improper medical procedure
- There are times when individuals perform a medical procedure that should not have been performed, including during surgery, and this could be considered medical malpractice.
- Improper medications/prescription errors
- There are various ways that medication errors occur in the medical setting. This can include giving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of the medication or failing to prescribe any medication at all when one is needed.
- Infections are rampant in hospitals. According to the CDC, approximately one out of every 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-acquired infection on any given day. These types of infections are typically preventable if hospital and medical professionals follow infection prevention protocols.
- Brain injury
- Brain injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways, including as a result of surgical errors, medication errors, a misdiagnosis, or failed diagnosis.
- Birth injury
- Birth injuries can occur if a medical professional fails to monitor a mother or baby’s vital signs, through the misuse of birth assistance tools such as forceps or vacuum devices, the misuse of medications, failure to monitor vital signs after birth, and more.
- Surgical errors
- Surgical errors should never occur, but they do. This can include operating on the wrong body part or even the wrong person. Surgical errors can also include making mistakes during the procedure or leaving objects behind inside of a person.
Medical Malpractice Compensation In Lexington
Kentucky laws are favorable toward medical malpractice lawsuits because, unlike many other states, medical malpractice compensation is not generally capped or limited. Patients are entitled to seek fair compensation for all of their catastrophic injuries and economic damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, reduced earning capacity damages, mental anguish, and lost wages.
In cases of fatal injuries, close family members may need the assistance of a Lexington wrongful death lawyer to file a claim against medical experts and facilities. Punitive damages may also be available when the defendant’s conduct is found to be grossly negligent or willful. Insurance companies will try to give you a low settlement offer for their client’s medical mistakes – we will not let that happen.
Speak to a Lexington Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been injured due to negligent medical care from a nurse, doctor, or other healthcare professionals, contact the Lexington medical malpractice lawyers at the law offices of Gary C. Johnson, P.S.C., for a free consultation. Patients rely on the care and expertise provided by hospitals and doctors and when they are victims of negligent, injury-causing medical care, they deserve to be compensated. Take legal action and call our Lexington attorneys today.