Metairie Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you are hurt in an accident your first move is obviously to seek medical treatment. But what happens when your injury is caused by your healthcare provider? While most doctors, nurses, and hospitals strive to provide excellent care, the reality is that they make mistakes just like everyone else–except that medical mistakes often leave the patient in an even worse condition.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you do have the right to seek compensation through the legal system. But these cases are often quite complex and require following special procedures. An experienced Metairie medical malpractice lawyer can guide you through this process. At Palazzo Law Firm, we represent clients who have been harmed by medical errors and we will make every effort to ensure you are fully and fairly compensated for your damages.
Understanding Louisiana’s Medical Malpractice Rules
The first thing to keep in mind about medical malpractice cases in Louisiana is that there is a strict time limit to bring a claim. Louisiana has a one-year statute of limitations in most civil cases. This includes medical malpractice. So if you have been harmed by a medical error or mistake, you generally have just one year from the date of that act to sue your health care provider.
But there are many cases where medical malpractice is not immediately discovered. Indeed, it may take several months–or even years–for a problem to manifest itself. To accommodate such cases, Louisiana law states a medical malpractice claim can be brought within one year of the date the victim discovered the problem–or could have reasonably discovered it through due diligence.
This “discovery” rule, however, can only buy you so much time. Louisiana cuts off medical malpractice claims three years after the “alleged act, omission, or neglect.” So you cannot sue a healthcare provider for a mistake that occurred more than three years ago regardless of the severity of the error or its ongoing impact on your health.
On top of these filing deadlines, Louisiana also requires medical malpractice victims to submit their proposed complaint to a “medical review panel.” This must be done before the applicable statute of limitations expires, although it does suspend the filing deadline. The panel is composed of three licensed health care providers and an attorney who will review your medical records, reports from medical experts who have reviewed your case, and testimony from witnesses questioned under oath.
Even if the panel finds no evidence of medical malpractice, the victim can still proceed with a lawsuit. But the panel members can be called by the defense as expert witnesses. At the end of the day, however, it would still be up to a jury to decide if malpractice occurred.
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In addition to the rules discussed above, Louisiana also limits the total amount of damages that a victim can receive in a medical malpractice case to $500,000, not including compensation for the costs of future medical care. And any award over $100,000 must be paid to a state insurance fund.
None of this should deter you from seeking to hold a negligent health care provider. So if you need to speak with a skilled Metairie medical malpractice lawyer, contact Palazzo Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.