Medical malpractice is defined as “any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient.” While everyone may make mistakes, errors on the part of a medical professional can result in serious injury, lifelong medical challenges, and even death. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, negligence in the medical field is the third leading cause of American deaths. Only cancer and heart disease rank higher.
Many patients think of medical malpractice strictly in terms of hospital or surgery errors. However, mistakes can and do occur in all realms of medical care. Prescription mistakes may lead to an allergic reaction, nursing home negligence may result in injury or fatality, and a misdiagnosis may mean inaccurately treating an illness or disease. Any of these situations have the ability to cause pain and suffering for the patient, their loved ones, and any caregivers involved. While it’s important to have the upmost levels of faith and trust in your medical team, it is also important not to trust blindly. Your doctor, hospital, and any medications should all be thoroughly researched, and if you are uncomfortable with a recommended course of treatment, seek a second opinion. Additionally, there are some facts that you need to know if you ever should become the victim of medical malpractice in the state of Louisiana:
- Medical Review Panel – In Louisiana, all malpractice claims must undergo review by a medical review panel. This panel will be comprised of three physicians of the same practice area as the defendant doctor. One of these physicians will be chosen by the victim and one by the accused doctor. The third will then be selected by the two existing panel members. The panel will consider evidence from both sides and make their own determination if medical malpractice has occurred. However, regardless of the panel’s conclusion, the patient may still file a lawsuit within 90 days of their decision.
- Statute of Limitations (Prescriptive Period) – Louisiana sets a statute of limitations to request the formation of a medical review panel at one year from the date the patient knew or should have known about the possibility of medical malpractice. Obviously, this date range will vary widely from one case to the next. However, in no circumstance can a lawsuit be filed more than three years from the date of the malpractice.
- Compensation Cap – As do many states, Louisiana places a cap on potential recovery amounts. This amount is set at $500,000, with the exception of future medical costs. This amount applies to total damages, including pain, suffering, and lost wages.
If you or a loved one have sought medical attention in good faith, only to become the victim of negligence, you should immediately seek legal help. Understanding your rights and the courses of action available to you is critical, and only a qualified Louisiana injury will be able to help.
Spencer Calahan Injury Lawyers have over 100 years of combined experience and are able to thoroughly and accurately answer all of your questions regarding medical malpractice. We have seen the impacts that poor and improper medical care can have on victims and their families, and we want to help. To request a consultation with one of our attorneys, click here, or call us directly at (225) 387-2323.