Consider a scenario in which you were involved in a traffic accident that causes you injury which requires hospitalization. While you’re in the hospital, you suffer further harm as a result of an incident of medical malpractice. Under Louisiana law, who should you sue to recover money damages for the harm that you have suffered?
It used to be that you could sue the driver of the other car for all of your damages, including those that you suffered while in the hospital because of the act of medical malpractice. Today, however, because of the way that the Louisiana Supreme Court has interpreted the state’s medical malpractice law, you should now file suit against all of the plausible defendants that you can identify.
The reason for this change has to do with the state’s adoption of comparative fault when it comes to determining the liability of multiple defendants. The old state of the law applied what might be thought of as a form of “joint and several liability,” or “solidarity” among multiple defendants. Under the new model of comparative fault, however, liability for damages caused by two or more defendants requires that each of them is liable only for his or her degree of fault.
The failure of a medical malpractice plaintiff to identify and file suit against a possible defendant who may have contributed to the harm he or she incurred may mean that the plaintiff’s award of compensation might be reduced by that non-party’s share of responsibility.
What this means for you is that if you have been harmed as a result of medical malpractice you will need to work closely with your personal injury attorney to make sure that everyone who may have contributed to that harm is identified and joined in any lawsuit that you may file based on that malpractice. In this regard, it is important that your attorney should be experienced with medical malpractice actions in Louisiana and should also be familiar with how Louisiana courts interpret that law.