Medical Malpractice


Louisiana Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice claims in Louisiana fall under a special law that places specific procedural requirements on bringing the claims. A claim against a doctor, a hospital, a nursing home, or certain other health care providers begins with filing a complaint with the Louisiana Division of Administration. The complaint has to be filed within one year of the date of the negligent act committed by the health care provider. In some limited cases you will have one year from the date that you discovered the negligence even if that date is more than one year after the date of the actual conduct of the health care provider. However, it is best not to wait, and you should speak with an experienced Louisiana medical malpractice as soon as you suspect that a health care provider may have caused you or your loved one injury.

Medical Review Panel

Along with your complaint there is a filing fee of $100 per health care provider that has to be paid. Once the complaint is filed and the filing fee is paid, a Medical Review Panel will be formed. A Medical Review Panel consists of three doctors. The claimant gets to pick one of the doctors, the health care provider gets to pick one of the doctors and then those two doctors choose a third doctor to serve on the panel. The whole medical review panel will be overseen by an attorney called the Attorney Chairman whose job it is to see that the panel meets and renders its opinion in compliance with the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act.

At the meeting of the medical review panel, the doctors meet and review your complaint and evidentiary submissions by both you and the health care provider and render an opinion as to whether they think the health care provider committed malpractice. Not surprisingly, the three doctors almost always find that the health care provider did not commit malpractice. Most health care providers have had a complaint filed against them and they all know that their actions might be reviewed by a medical review panel one day.

The medical review panel process can be long and complicated but in Louisiana you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit against certain health care providers until you have gone through the medical review panel process.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If a medical review panel finds that the health care provider did not commit malpractice, it does not prevent you from filing a lawsuit. However, it does give the defendant heath care provider an expert opinion that he or she did not commit malpractice. That means in order to bring your claims you will need a medical expert to render an opinion that the health care provider did commit malpractice. This can be a very expensive hurdle to pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Louisiana.

Limitations on Recovery

The Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act also places significant limitations on the amount that a claimant can recover. The most that an injured patient or the patient’s family can recover is $500,000. While that may seem like a lot of money, if you consider that a health care provider’s negligence can result in serious injury or even a patient’s death, $500,000 Is not that much money. The $500,000 limit was actually established by legislation in the early 70’s and was considered a fair compensation back then. In today’s value it would be more than $1.3 million dollars, but the Louisiana Legislature has not seemed fit to adjust the amount that a claimant can recover. There is an exception to the limitation for future medical expenses.

Speak with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

At Big River Trial Attorneys, our attorneys have handled hundreds of medical malpractice claims. We have worked on both the plaintiff and defense sides and are very familiar with what makes a good medical malpractice case. If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of a health care provider, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call us at (225) 963-9638 to schedule your consultation.

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