In Kansas, medical malpractice lawyers are on the side of victims of medical negligence. They use their vast knowledge of the state laws governing malpractice suits and their experience in court and in settlement agreements to help clients win justice and hold responsible parties accountable for the harm they caused. They also help their clients get much-needed compensation for medical bills and other expenses.
Compared to other states, Kansas sees an average amount of medical malpractice lawsuits. There are nearly 20 cases filed for every 100,000 people in the state, and in 2015 the total payouts from these suits was $23.3 million. The laws in the state are supposed to ensure that patients have the right to sue for damages but also that costs of healthcare and malpractice insurance stay reasonable.
Kansas Medical Malpractice Laws
Because every state has its own set of laws governing malpractice cases, from how and when they can be filed to how the cases proceed and awarded damages, it is important for patients to understand the laws in their own state. It is also important to rely on knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers in Kansas who have a deep understanding of these laws.
Some of the most important laws for patients to be aware of are regarding the statute of limitations and caps on damages. The statute of limitations in Kansas is two years, which means that is how much time a patient has to file a lawsuit. The two-year clock begins either when the negligent act occurred or when the patient should have reasonable discovered the negligence occurred. But, no more than four years can pass between the actual negligence and the filing of a lawsuit.
Damages are also important to understand because caps on this compensation limit how much a patient can recover in a lawsuit. Like many other states, Kansas has placed a cap on non-economic damages, the amount of money a patient can recover for things that cannot be priced, like pain and suffering. Kansas’s original cap was $250,000, but it is set to change to account for inflation, After July 1, 2018 the cap goes up to $300,000 and in 2022 it will go up to $350,000. There is no cap in Kansas on economic damages for things like medical expenses, lost wages, and future lost earnings.
Settlement Conference and Screening Panels
A plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer, as well as lawyers for the defendants, is required to attend a settlement conference in Kansas malpractice cases. This happens no more than 30 days before the start of a trial. The purpose is to try to settle the case before going to trial, but this conference also gives the defendants the chance to request a screening panel.
Kansas medical malpractice law allows for any party involved in a case to call for this panel, which is made up of three medical professionals and one lawyer. The plaintiff gets to choose one doctor, as does the defendant, and the third is agreed on by both sides. The purpose of the panel is to review the evidence and to form an opinion on whether or not malpractice occurred. The findings are admissible at the trial if it goes forward, and any member of the panel may be called to testify.
Medical Malpractice Cases in Kansas
Kansas medical malpractice lawyers fight hard for their clients, trying to win both justice and compensation, while also forcing those responsible for harm to be held accountable. Some cases in the state end with big awards or a sense of justice for the victim and family but many also fail. This is in spite of the best efforts of the legal team.
One case that was successful involved the tragic death of a veteran who had been treated at the Kansas City Veterans Affairs facility. The man was 84 years old and was being treated for pneumonia after becoming sick while traveling with his son. His medical records indicated that he was allergic to a class of antibiotics, and the son later stated that the doctor asked if he was allergic to any medications. At that point the veteran told the doctor about his allergy. The doctor administered one of the antibiotics anyway.
The man was sent home, but he had a bad reaction to the medication. His son brought him back to the VA facility, where he was placed in intensive care and again given the medication to which he was allergic. He developed a severe and painful reaction, and yet no one checked his medical records to discover the allergy. The VA put him in hospice care, where he died. The family’s malpractice layer helped them file a lawsuit against the facility, and they settled for $500,000 for wrongful death.
Another case in Kansas is ongoing and was filed against the University of Kansas Hospital. The plaintiff, Wendy Berner, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a deadly type of cancer, and was admitted to the hospital for aggressive surgical treatment that would remove parts of multiple organs. Only after the procedure was done did she find out that she had been given a false diagnosis and that the surgery was unnecessary.
None of the doctors involved told her about the mistake. She only found out about it when she read an article about an attempted cover up of a diagnostic mistake reported to the hospital’s joint commission. Berner now has to live with the consequences of that surgery and is suing the doctor that misdiagnosed her, the surgeon, and the University of Kansas Medical Center, Hospital Authority, and Physicians group.
Selecting a Kansas Medical Malpractice Lawyer
It is important for patients who believe they have been victims of medical negligence to choose an experienced lawyer who specializes in malpractice law. If you are in this position, be careful with your choice, but also be aware of the time limitations on filing. You may want to start with the state bar association to find a lawyer in good standing who is a malpractice specialist. You should feel comfortable asking a potential advocate questions about experience and past cases. You need to feel right about your choice, and a good lawyer won’t mind answering questions.
When the worst happens and you or a family member has been harmed by the medical professionals you trusted, working with the right lawyer is crucial. You need a Kansas medical malpractice lawyer who is well-versed in the law and who has worked with patients before, winning cases and getting justice.
- http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/medical-liability-medical-malpractice-laws.aspx - AL