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Limitations on medical malpractice claims in Louisiana

March 20th, 2015
On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, March 20, 2015.

Medical professional negligence may include surgical errors, hospital negligence, misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose. Whatever form it might take, medical malpractice can cause personal injury or death.

State law governs a patient’s rights to seek compensation for doctor error or other forms of malpractice in Louisiana. The laws place limitations on when a lawsuit must be filed, the amount of money an injured patient may recover and the evidence that may be used to prove that a doctor, hospital or nursing home injury was the result of negligence for which a patient or, in the case of a fatal medical error, the family of the patient may recover damages.

A lawsuit against a New Orleans doctor must be filed within one year from the date of the medical malpractice or within one year from when the injury could reasonably have been expected to have been discovered. A victim of a surgical error who fails to file a lawsuit before the time within which to do so expires may have no recourse against the doctor or hospital.

The section of the one-year statute of limitations that starts the clock running from the date of discovery of the injury has a three-year limitation. A malpractice victim has only three years from the act of negligence committed by the health care provided within which to discover the injury and file a lawsuit.

Another limitation placed on claims against doctors is a $500,000 cap on the damages an injured patient may recover. The cap includes lost earnings, but it does not include medical expenses that can also be recovered.

If a medical professional offers an apology or other expression of sympathy or regret over an act of negligence that caused personal injury to a patient, state law in Louisiana prohibits it from being used as evidence to prove medical malpractice. The law was intended to allow doctors to speak freely to patients without fear of their remorse being used against them.

Louisiana laws impose an added burden on patients seeking compensation for the negligence of health care providers. This post is an overview of some of the challenges an injured patient might have to overcome, but it is not legal advice. A patient who believes that he or she might have been injured through the medical practice of a doctor or other medical professional should seek legal advice from an attorney.

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