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What constitutes medical malpractice in Louisiana?

If you are a Louisiana resident who has suffered an injury as the result of the negligence of a health care provider, you may wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. You need to be aware, however, that as FindLaw explains, malpractice laws are very complicated in Louisiana.

Louisiana defines a health care provider as someone licensed to perform medical services by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. Such people include the following:

  • Physicians and physician assistants
  • Occupational therapists
  • Podiatrists
  • Clinical exercise physiologists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Midwives

Medical malpractice basically is negligence. It means that the health care provider did not act at the standard of care practiced by other like providers in similar circumstances.

Medical malpractice happens in a number of ways. You could have suffered one of the following:

  • Your surgeon operated on the wrong part of your body or left something inside your body
  • You developed a potentially fatal staph infection
  • You suffered disfigurement
  • You were given the wrong medication
  • You were misdiagnosed
  • You suffered abuse in a nursing home

Statute of limitations

You must bring your medical malpractice claim within one year from the date on which your injury occurred or one year from the date you discovered or reasonably should have discovered your injury. If you do not bring your claim within three years from the date your injury occurred, you may be barred from doing so. Most states call this time limit a statute of limitations; Louisiana calls it a prescriptive period.

Medical Review Panel

Before you file a lawsuit, you must submit your claim to the Medical Review Panel. This is an independent group that reviews your claim and your evidence that medical malpractice occurred. Many malpractice claims are settled after this review without the claimant having to file suit. Should you receive an unfavorable decision from the Medical Review Panel, however, this decision is not binding. You can still file a lawsuit.

This information should not be taken as legal advice. It nevertheless can help you understand the process and what to expect.

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