Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical Malpractice Claims in KentuckyMedical malpractice is an area of law that deals with cases where healthcare providers fail to meet the standard of care, resulting in harm to patients. If you or a loved one have been affected by medical malpractice, you may have many questions about the legal process, your rights, and what to expect. We have put together the most common questions (and answers) we get about medical malpractice.

Are all medical errors considered malpractice?

No, not all medical errors are considered malpractice. To qualify as medical malpractice, an error must be so egregious that reasonable physicians in the same area of practice would have done things differently and that the error caused harm or injury to the patient.

What constitutes a standard of care?

The “standard of care” refers to the level of care and treatment that a reasonably competent and skilled healthcare provider in the same field would have provided under similar circumstances. It’s what patients have a right to expect from their healthcare providers.

Who can be held liable for medical malpractice?

Healthcare providers that can be held liable for medical malpractice include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, chiropractors, and hospitals or healthcare facilities where the malpractice occurred. Liability is determined based on the level of care expected from each provider and their actions or inactions.

What are common types of medical malpractice claims?

Medical malpractice claims can arise from various situations, including surgical errors, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, medication errors, birth injuries, hospital negligence, and more. Each case is unique and depends on the specific circumstances.

What should I do If I suspect medical malpractice?

If you suspect you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney. Your attorney can assess your case, gather evidence, and help you navigate the legal process. Don’t delay – the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Kentucky is only one year.

What should I expect during the legal process?

The legal process for a medical malpractice claim typically involves the following stages: initial consultation, investigation, filing the complaint, discovery, negotiation, settlement or trial, and resolution. Your attorney will guide you through each step.

Do I have to go to court for a medical malpractice claim?

Not all medical malpractice claims go to court. Many are resolved through negotiations and settlements with the involved parties and their malpractice insurance companies. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to court.

What happens if my case goes to trial?

If your medical malpractice case goes to trial, you and your attorney will present evidence, including expert witness testimonies and medical records. The jury will make a verdict, which can be appealed by either party.

Do I need expert witnesses for my case?

Expert witnesses play an important role in medical malpractice cases. They can provide professional opinions on the standard of care, the breach of that standard, and how it led to the patient’s injuries. Your attorney will help you identify and secure expert witnesses for your case.

How long does a medical malpractice lawsuit take to resolve?

The duration of a medical malpractice lawsuit can vary widely, depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, court availability, and whether a settlement can be reached. Some cases are resolved in a few months, while others may take several years.

Will filing a medical malpractice claim affect my relationship with my healthcare provider?

Filing a lawsuit will likely affect the physician/patient relationship with an individual healthcare provider. They will either discharge you as a patient or your attorney will ask you to find a new physician. The same is not true for a hospital or large clinic.

Can I afford a medical malpractice attorney?

Nearly all  medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only receive payment if you win your case. This arrangement makes it more accessible for individuals to pursue claims without upfront costs.

Is there a cap on damages in medical malpractice cases?

Kentucky does not cap medical malpractice damages. This includes damages for pain and suffering.  However, neighboring states like Ohio and West Virginia do have caps. Depending on where the malpractice occurred, your claim may or may not be subject to caps.

Can a medical malpractice claim affect my health insurance coverage?

Filing a medical malpractice claim should not affect your health insurance coverage, as it is typically separate from the legal process. However, your health insurance provider may seek reimbursement if you receive a settlement.

What happens after a successful medical malpractice claim?

If your medical malpractice claim is successful, you will receive compensation for your losses and injuries. This may include payment for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other relevant damages.

Can family members file a wrongful death claim for medical malpractice?

Yes, family members of a deceased patient can file a wrongful death claim for medical malpractice if they believe the death was the result of medical negligence.

Can I sue for emotional distress in a medical malpractice claim?

Yes, you can seek compensation for emotional distress as part of your medical malpractice claim if you have suffered significant emotional or psychological harm due to the malpractice.

What should I avoid doing during a medical malpractice claim?

During a medical malpractice claim, it’s essential to avoid discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney and to refrain from posting about it on social media. Additionally, avoid speaking directly with the opposing party’s insurance company without your attorney present.

How can I support my medical malpractice claim?

To support your medical malpractice claim, document all related communications and events and provide this documentation to your attorney at your first meeting, and follow your attorney’s guidance closely. Providing accurate and detailed information is essential.

If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, talk to the Kentucky attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers today. Our lawyers can help you navigate the complicated legal process, answer your specific questions, and guide you toward the best course of action for your case. To schedule a consultation to discuss your options, please call or contact us. With offices in both Lexington and Louisville, we proudly extend our services to clients across Kentucky.