Kentucky Medical Malpractice: Statute of Limitations and Award Limits

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Medical professionals have a responsibility to any patient in their care to provide a standard of care equivalent to the standards of the community and other medical professionals with their credentials and experience.  If they do not do so, they can be charged with medical malpractice and, depending on the state laws, file a civil lawsuit in a reasonable amount of time in order to recover damages.  That time limit is called the statute of limitations, and those laws vary by state and by type of case, but in Kentucky, that limit is generally 1 year.

Time Limits for Filing a Claim in Kentucky

In Kentucky, the statute of limitations is generally 1 year for filing medical malpractice suits.  If the injury is not discovered immediately, that statute of limitations does not begin accruing until the time of discovery, but it can by no means exceed 5 years.  For minors, the statute of limitations is tolled, or put on hold, until the minor turns 18 or until they marry.  They then have 1 year to file a medical malpractice suit.  Wrongful death suits must also be filed within one year of the date of the patient’s death.

Negligence Laws

Kentucky negligence laws are based on “pure” comparative negligence.  This means that damages are awarded based on the percentage of liability each party is judged to have for the injury, which occurred, no matter what the ratio may be.  This means that that each person is liable for his or her proportion of fault in the injury, even if it is only 1%.  Further details on the state statutes in Kentucky for negligence cases can be found in the table below.

Code Section


Comparative Negligence


Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery

Employees are not guilty of contributory negligence where the carrier’s violation of the state/federal safety statute contributed to injury or death. Where no safety statute has been violated, contributory negligence does not preclude recovery of damages, but damages are diminished in proportion to the amount of attributable negligence. (277.320)

Contribution Among Tortfeasors

Yes; §412.030

Uniform Act


Award Limits in Kentucky

In Kentucky, there is no limit on damage awards for medical malpractice cases.  The judge in each case can award whatever degree of financial, non-financial, and punitive damages they believe is appropriate.

Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered due to the negligence of a medical professional, you have the right to sue for damages under Kentucky state law.  You have one year to do so, however, which is a relatively short period for these kinds of complex cases.  You should consult a legal professional to help you determine the merits of your case and to help you compile it before that statute of limitations runs out.

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