What Actually Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider is negligent in the care of a patient and that negligence results in damage and injury to the patient. In medical malpractice the negligence must be considered a breach in the standard of care.
Are These Claims Only Against Doctors Or Other Healthcare Professionals As Well?
In Louisiana, medical malpractice claims are not limited to doctors but to any health care provider including but not limited to a radiologist, a physical therapist, a psychiatrist, a chiropractor, or a nurse. Anyone that is providing medical health care to a patient can cause medical malpractice.
Does My Injury Need To Be Serious In Order To Pursue A Medical Malpractice Claim?
Your injury does not have to be serious in order to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Anyone can pursue a medical malpractice claim for legitimate medical malpractice that causes injury where the conduct by the health care provider was below the standard of care and that breach caused the injury. However, in Louisiana, there are certain statutory requirements to comply with before a lawsuit can be filed. Those requirements, along with the necessity of getting medical experts to opine that there was a breach in the standard of care, are extremely costly. An otherwise clear cut case of malpractice and damage can turn into a case where you would not want to pursue it because the amount of your damages for a small or ephemeral injury would be outweighed by the actual cost of proving your case.
The short answer to that is; in Louisiana, due to the fact that it is extremely expensive to pursue a medical malpractice case, it is often the case that the injuries sustained need to be very serious, permanent, or have resulted in death to economically justify pursuing the claim.
What Sort Of Evidence Is Critical In Proving My Medical Malpractice?
To prove medical malpractice you’ll need a few critical pieces of evidence. Expert opinions by a qualified medical professional in the area of practice in which the malpractice occurred. For example, a surgeon will need to review the medical records and provide a report that the defendant surgeon breached the standard of care in the surgeon’s treatment of the patient. You will need a complete set of all relevant medical records before, during, and after the treatment rendered by the healthcare provider.
What Damages May Be Awarded In A Medical Malpractice Case That Was Successful?
If a medical malpractice case is successful, then some of the damages you would be entitled to would include pain and suffering, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, wrongful death, and survival action. Unlike an automobile or other accidents, under the Louisiana medical malpractice statute, the damages are capped at five hundred thousand dollars. In addition to the five hundred thousand dollar cap, you can recover all the medical expenses incurred as a result of the malpractice as there is no cap on past or future medical expenses.
What Steps Should I Take If I Have Been A Victim Of Medical Malpractice?
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice you’ll first need to consult a lawyer who is familiar with medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice is a different area of the law in which there are special procedural rules that must be followed. If possible you should obtain a complete set of your medical records so that the lawyer can review them to determine if medical malpractice may have taken place.
How Long Do I Have To File A Medical Malpractice Claim In Louisiana?
You have one year to file a medical malpractice claim in Louisiana. This time period runs from the date that you knew or should have known of the alleged medical malpractice; but in no event any later than three years from the date of the malpractice. There are certain exceptions to this rule known as contra non valentum, but these exceptions are very limited in scope and almost never apply.
How Does It Impact My Medical Malpractice Claim If I Have Signed A Consent Form?
Signing a consent form does not preclude you from filing a claim for medical malpractice. In some cases consent forms do provide a defense for a healthcare provider. However, that defense has to be proven by the healthcare provider.
For more information on Medical Malpractice Claims In Louisiana, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (504) 332-8188 today.
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