If you are a Louisiana resident who is thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor and/or health care facility, you need to be aware of the fact that your claim must be reviewed by a Medical Review Panel before you can file suit. The Louisiana Division of Administration explains that under state law, you must submit a written malpractice claim and request for the formation of an MRP to the Commissioner of Administration in Baton Rouge.
Once you file your claim, the Commissioner has 30 days within which to do the following:
- Notify you that your claim has been received
- Verify that your named defendants; i.e., your doctor, health care facility, etc., have been qualified by the State of Louisiana as public health care providers
- Verify that you have paid your filing fee
- Notify your defendants that you have filed a claim and request for an MRP
Formation of the MRP
An MRP consists of three voting health care providers and one nonvoting attorney who acts as its chairman. You and your defendants get to choose who the attorney will be based on a list of five that the Clerk of the Supreme Court will send to all involved parties. Once he or she is selected, you have 30 days in which to submit the name of a health care provider who you want to serve on the Panel. Your defendants then have 15 days in which to submit the name of their MRP health care provider member. The two providers then choose a third provider. If they cannot agree on who that should be, the attorney chairman makes the choice for them.
The discovery process
Once the MRP is formed and convened, you get to present your written evidence, such as your medical records and/or charts, x-rays, test results, depositions of various witnesses, etc. Your defendants likewise have the opportunity to present their own evidence, including taking your deposition if they so choose. The MRP may request additional evidence from you or your defendants if they feel it is necessary. They also may consult with their own medical experts if they so choose.
This information should not be taken as legal advice. It can, however, help you understand the process and what to expect.