In Kentucky, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional (such as a doctor, nurse or other hospital staff member) is medically negligent, leading to injury for a patient. Medical negligence arises from any acts or failures to act that fall below the standard of care expected of competent medical professionals.

To determine if the action fails to meet this standard and qualifies as medical malpractice, legal professionals compare the actions of the healthcare professional to the hypothetical actions of a “reasonably competent” professional in the same field and circumstances.

For example, a healthcare provider in Kentucky could be considered medically negligent in the following circumstances:

  • Failure to diagnose (or an incorrect diagnosis)
  • Failure to treat or provide acceptable treatment
  • Prescription errors
  • Birth injuries caused during delivery and treatment

Who is the typical defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Any healthcare provider who is legally allowed to treat a patient or provide medical services of any type could be held liable for medical malpractice. This includes nurses, doctors, surgeons, dentists, hospitals, clinics, social workers, medical groups and psychologists.

What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Kentucky?

A person who has been injured due to alleged malpractice must file a claim within one year of the date of the act that resulted in the injury. However, if the injury was not discovered until later, the injured patient has one year from the date of discovery — or the date the injury should have been discovered. A failure to act within the statute of limitations will likely result in the patient’s case being summarily dismissed.

Does Kentucky have medical malpractice damage caps?

Kentucky has no caps for economic, noneconomic or punitive damages. A plaintiff in a malpractice claim could receive a significant amount of money if the negligence was particularly egregious.

However, it is important to remember that there is a very high burden of proof in medical malpractice cases. Just because a procedure resulted in a negative outcome does not mean that procedure was administered negligently.

For more information and guidance on Kentucky’s medical malpractice laws, meet with a trusted healthcare law attorney at Hemmer DeFrank Wessels, PLLC.