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Louisville Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Louisville medical malpractice attorney team

Although patients trust doctors with their lives, doctors and healthcare facilities can be prone to making mistakes. Miscommunications, surgical errors, lack of sanitation, and negligent or incompetent physicians can all harm unsuspecting patients. It is a physician’s duty to fulfill the accepted standards of care when treating a patient. Anything less, resulting in patient harm or death, is malpractice.

At Meinhart, Smith & Manning, PLLC, our Louisville medical malpractice lawyers are dedicated to helping families fight back, prevent future injustices and seek just compensation.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a physician or another health care professional failing to meet the accepted standards of care in the medical industry, resulting in harm to the patient. When a doctor or hospital’s negligent act or omission injures or kills a patient, the victim or his/her family has grounds to file a civil claim. A doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, dentist, dermatologist, orthopedist, hospital, emergency room, birthing center, or any other health care personnel or entity may serve as a defendant in a med mal case. A medical malpractice claim in Kentucky could result in payment for related damages, including medical bills and pain and suffering.

Why Do You Need an Attorney in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

It is very difficult to take on a medical malpractice claim alone. Navigating laws such as statute of limitations, mandatory medical review panel, expert witness assistance, and other complex aspects of a case requires help from a lawyer. A medical malpractice attorney can take care of all aspects of your claim while you focus on your personal healing. Your attorney will make sure the doctor or hospital does not take advantage of you during settlement negotiations, and even take your case to court if necessary for full and fair compensation.

How Often Does Medical Malpractice Happen?

Most patients trust their doctors. They do not imagine that the physician could be capable of such a degree of negligence as to cause serious injury, illness, or death. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is relatively common. Unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, studies have suggested that in reality, medical errors are the third leading cause of death.

An analysis of eight years of medical death rate data showed that over 250,000 deaths per year occur because of medical malpractice in the United States. This would unseat unintentional injuries on the leading causes of death list, which accounted for 161,374 deaths in 2016. John Hopkins researchers explain that the reason for the disparity is because health statistics do not differentiate between medical errors and other deaths on death certificates. The researchers advocate for a change that would lead to better medical malpractice classification.

Due to a lack of standardized methods for collecting national medical malpractice statistics, many patients do not appreciate the full extent of the risk. While many doctors are prudent and safe, many others are not. However, the majority of medical errors stem from systemic problems such as poor communication, lack of safety nets, and uncoordinated care. Medical care gone wrong kills tens of thousands of patients every year in the U.S. alone. Researchers say the death toll translates into 9.5% of all U.S. deaths each year.

What Do You Have to Prove to Win a Med Mal Case in Louisville?

Even in cases involving blatant medical malpractice, the laws in Kentucky place a burden of proof on the victim or his or her attorney. It is the plaintiff’s side of the case that must prove the defendant’s negligence to obtain financial compensation. Proving a case is much easier with help from a lawyer with experience in the field. The plaintiff’s attorney must demonstrate, through a preponderance of evidence, four main elements to win a case.

  1. A duty to exercise a reasonable standard of care existed. Your lawyer will need to show that a doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the medical malpractice event. This relationship would show that the defendant owed you a professional duty of medical care.
  2. The defendant violated a standard of care. Your lawyer will then need to establish that the defendant breached his or her duties of care through some act or omission. Proving this element may take testimony from a medical expert confirming that the physician or hospital was negligent.
  3. The defendant’s negligence caused your injury. Third, your attorney will draw connections between the defendant’s negligence or carelessness and the injuries in question. A negative health outcome alone will not be enough to prove your case. You lawyer will need proof of a connection to the defendant’s breach of duty.
  4. You suffered real damages as a result. Finally, your lawyer will use medical bills, eyewitness reports, medical experts, and depositions to show that you suffered significant damages because of the medical negligence. Damages may include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, hardship, disability, loss of income, and medical bills.

On top of these four main elements of proof, claimants and their lawyers will have to navigate a complex web of medical malpractice laws according to state statutes. Like most states, Kentucky has special rules and requirements for bringing medical malpractice claims. Working with a lawyer enables a plaintiff to understand these rules and to follow them carefully – ultimately expediting the legal process and improving the odds of securing a settlement or verdict.

Understanding Kentucky’s Medical Malpractice Laws

To bring a valid claim of medical malpractice in Kentucky courts, you must follow all the rules and procedures for filing. There is a specific courtroom in Louisville that will hear your case depending on its value. This process involves a lot of red tape and paperwork you must go through to file your med mal claim against a doctor, surgeon, hospital, and/or other party. Working with one of our Louisville medical malpractice attorneys takes this burden off of your shoulders, as we understand how to navigate all applicable statutes.

Two of the most important Kentucky laws for medical malpractice lawyers are:

Malpractice Claim filing deadline:

Unlike states that give two to five years after the medical malpractice incident to file a claim, Kentucky’s statute of limitations is one year. The clock starts ticking the day you discover your injuries, which might not be the same day you sustained them. For example, if you discover a surgeon left a cotton swab in your body after five years, you have one year from the date of discovery to file, not from the date of the surgery. These fine details can be best identified by an experienced med mal attorney.

Medical Review Panel Requirement:

The only way a Kentucky court will hear a med mal claim is if the injured patient files a complaint document with a medical review panel first. The medical review panel will look at the facts of the case, check the patient’s medical history, hear expert testimony, and then give an opinion about the case’s merit. The only way to avoid the review panel is if all parties elect to skip it. The filing of the complaint with the panel tolls the statute of limitations clock.

Beyond the medical review panel, an expert witness who is willing to testify in support of your malpractice claims can provide a huge courtroom advantage. An expert witness should be a professional who works in the same or similar capacity as the defendant and can therefore help you prove a reasonable and prudent professional would not have done the same thing the defendant did, resulting in catastrophic injuries.

Working with our med mal attorney team will help you adhere to all the various rules and laws involved in filing your claim and improve your odds of receiving compensation.

Types of Medical Malpractice Claims Our Law Firm Defends

“Medical malpractice” can refer to virtually anything that falls outside the realm of responsibility for a doctor or healthcare provider, resulting in patient harm. Common errors that can qualify as medical malpractice include:

Anesthesiologist Negligence & Medical Malpractice

An anesthesia error is a form of medical malpractice. This means it’s something that a reasonable and prudent medical professional likely would have prevented under the same circumstances. While not all anesthesia-related harm comes down to someone else’s negligence, it often does. It is the anesthesiologist’s job to conduct a full interview of the patient prior to a surgical procedure. The anesthesiologist must review the patient’s medical history, current medications, weight, and many other factors to calculate the precise correct dosage.

During the procedure, the anesthesiologist must carefully monitor the patient to make sure everything goes as planned. Warning signs that something is wrong, such as increased heart rate or lack of oxygen to the brain, should push the anesthesiologist into action to remedy the issue and prevent harm to the patient. Failure to attend to any of these job-related duties, causing patient harm, is medical malpractice. Medical malpractice claims in Kentucky can involve general anesthesia, regional anesthesia, or local anesthesia.

Risks Relating to Anesthesia Errors and Medical Malpractice

Anesthesia is a toxic substance that only works as intended with careful dosing, monitoring, and regulation. Even a minor error can make anesthesia dangerous or deadly to a patient. If an anesthesiologist becomes distracted, doesn’t have adequate training, miscalculates the dosage, fails to monitor the patient during surgery, or otherwise makes a mistake, it could result in several different injuries to the patient, including:

  • Intubation-related injuries. Tracheal damage and other harm can occur when the medical professional improperly intubates the patient to prepare for anesthesia.
  • Cardiovascular harm. Stroke or heart attack can occur under anesthesia, as a result of improper dosage.
  • Birth defects. If a mother undergoes surgery in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, there is a chance that the developing fetus could be subject to birth defects. Exposure to harmful anesthetic gases could result in birth defects or miscarriage.
  • Brain damage. If the brain does not receive enough oxygen due to too much anesthesia or another error, it can cause permanent brain damage.
  • Anesthesia awareness. Too little anesthesia can lead to a rare state called “anesthesia awareness,” in which the patient is aware of what’s happening but unable to speak or move. This can cause psychological trauma to the patient.
  • Coma or death. Brain damage or traumatic brain injury can cause coma or even death to a patient due to anesthesia errors.

What to Prepare for a Med Mal Case

Although your lawyer will do most of the preparation for your case on your behalf, you can cut down on costs and potentially shorten your case’s timeline by contributing to the case where you can. Knowing what to prepare for your first meeting with a lawyer, your first deposition, and mediation or a medical malpractice trial can help you arrive fully prepped and ready to go. Preparing the right documents, records, and statements on your own can help your attorney quickly begin the fight for compensation.

  • Medical records. Call the hospital where the malpractice occurred and request copies of your medical records. These records could contain evidence of the malpractice, such as your complaints of chronic pain or other symptoms after a surgeon negligently left a foreign object behind, along with x-rays showing the object. Medical records can help your lawyer paint a full picture of your medical history and current state.
  • Hospital bills. Keep all invoices and hospital bills delivered to you, as well as receipts for any payments you make. Keep all receipts or bills relating to your case, including gas receipts for transportation to the doctor’s office, hotel bills for stays near specialists, payments for prescription medications, the price of making home or vehicle modifications to accommodate a disability, and bills for nursing care.
  • Proof of lost income. If the medical malpractice incident forced you to take time off work while you go to the doctor, undergo surgeries, or recover, gather copies of your time-off requests, paystubs, and any letters or emails between you and your employer. If your employer offered you a lower level job for less pay, for example, keep a copy of this communication. Evidence of lost wages can help you seek fair compensation for these losses.
  • Record of important details. As soon as you suspect medical malpractice, start documenting your experience. Record important details such as the date and time of the malpractice, the names of your doctor and anyone else in the room, the name of the hospital, what happened, what the physician or hospital said about the incident, and your personal journey (including pain and suffering). The more details you can give your lawyer, the better your odds of success.

Photographs of your injuries and copies of any correspondence with an insurance company could also help your claim. When you meet with your medical malpractice attorney for the first time, he or she will help you understand what information will be helpful to gather. The law firm can also conduct its own investigation and collection of evidence on your behalf.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

To find out if you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact the Louisville Med Mal lawyers of Meinhart, Smith & Manning, PLLC today . We offer no-cost case evaluations for your benefit.