What Is Medical Malpractice?
Under Louisiana law, medical malpractice is a legal term referring to a claim of negligence brought against a medical healthcare provider. Medical malpractice simply refers to a heathcare provider's medical negligence or misconduct that results in personal injury. The term "healthcare provider" refers to a variety of medical personnel, including nurse practitioners, physicians, hospitals, etc. Such healthcare providers, if "qualified," cannot be subject to liability beyond the limitations set forth in Louisiana's Medical Malpractice Act.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
Many serious personal injury and wrongful death cases occurring in New Orleans, Louisiana, arise out of medical malpractice, including those involving claims of:
- failure to diagnose
- birth injuries
- surgical error
- premature hospital discharge
- improper prescription
Injuries stemming from medical negligence are often severe in nature and may include permanent injury, paralysis, and even death.
Act Now Before It's Too Late!
Outside of medical malpractice wrongful death claims, personal injuries related to medical malpractice often do not arise until sometime after the negligent act or omission. For example, if a surgeon inadvertently leaves a surgical sponge in his patient's stomach, the patient may not develop adverse health effects until long after the surgical procedure. This is one reason why Louisiana law provides that a victim of medical malpractice typically has one year from the date of discovery of the malpractice to bring his/her lawsuit. This legal precept is known commonly in the legal profession as the "discovery" rule and often comes into play when dealing with issues of prescription, i.e., common law statute of limitations.
Generally speaking, the date of discovery commences on the first date on which the medical malpractice victim either knew or should have known that their personal injuries may be related to medical malpractice. The “discovery rule” is a fluid concept, one that often is litigated between the parties. Louisiana law also recognizes a three-year peremptive period associated with claims of medical malpractice. Peremption, unlike prescription, may not be suspended or tolled, meaning that a medical malpractice claim may not be brought after three years from the date of the alleged malpractice.
As you can see, the legal time delays surrounding claims of medical malpractice are complex. It is therefore imperative that you seek advice from a competent attorney or law firm to handle medical malpractice cases as soon as you believe that your personal injury may be related to medical negligence.
Why You Need To Work With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Cases involving medical malpractice require an understanding both of the medical-related issues, as well as the legal procedure involved in bringing and prosecuting a medical malpractice claim. Unlike most personal injury cases in Louisiana, claims involving acts of medical malpractice, generally speaking, must be presented to a medical review panel before suit can be filed. The medical review panel is composed of three doctors who have experience in the practice area involved in the alleged malpractice. The panelists meet and review each party's submission of evidence and then offer a written opinion and reasons as to whether they believe that there was a breach of the applicable medical standard of care, and whether such breach caused the resultant damages to the plaintiff. Once the medical review panel has issued its opinion, regardless of the panel's findings, the claimant may proceed with bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit in a court of competent jurisdiction. Of course, if a physician panelist finds in favor of the plaintiff at the medical review panel stage, it will certainly benefit the plaintiff's case, as the medical review panel's finding may be introduced as evidence in court.
Our Law Firm Can Help You
With so many legal intricacies involved in Louisiana medical malpractice cases, it is important that you contact a lawyer or law firm who is familiar with prosecuting claims of healthcare provider negligence. For instance, the aforementioned statutory cap found under Louisiana's Medical Malpractice Act limits the amount of general damages which a claimant can recover for his/her claim of medical malpractice. That is, under Louisiana law, a medical malpractice claimant is limited in the amount of money that they can recover for their pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other types of "general damages." However, Louisiana's statutory cap in the medical malpractice arena does not limit the amount that a medical malpractice claimant can recover in future medical expenses. In other words, there is no statutory limit to the amount of future medical expenses that a medical malpractice claimant can recover. Thus, it is important to discuss the facts of your particular medical malpractice case with an experienced healthcare lawyer.
The Voorhies Law Firm has represented aggrieved victims of medical malpractice throughout Louisiana and has the requisite experience to successfully prosecute your case. The Voorhies Law Firm has handled medical malpractice cases occurring in New Orleans, Mandeville, Alexandria, Houma, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and other surrounding areas of Louisiana. Like many types of cases, the attorneys at The Voorhies Law Firm will take your medical malpractice personal injury case on contingency fee, meaning you pay nothing in attorney’s fees unless they successfully recover for your damages.
Call The Voorhies Law Firm today for a free consultation regarding your potential medical malpractice case. Know your legal rights, and seek the compensation you deserve for your personal injuries.