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Medical Malpractice in Louisiana

While the majority of interactions with doctors and medical staff are positive, when a patient in Louisiana has been harmed by the actions of his or her medical professionals it can be a very difficult time. Although the state has a fund in place to help victims of medical malpractice, the process is not always a simple one. 

As The Times-Picayune explains, each year there are complaints filed against nearly 7 percent of medical professionals in the state. The complaints are then discussed by a medical review panel, which is made up of three doctors, who vote on each complaint, and a lawyer who runs the panel. Typically the panels only find for the patient in fewer than 7 percent of cases since 2000. While the panel's decision is not legally binding, it is considered if the case goes to trial. If a patient wins their case in court, damages are capped at $500,000. This money comes from the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, which was established to help compensate those who were harmed through medical malpractice while also keeping insurance rates for doctors and other medical professionals low. Some people are also granted future medical expenses, which is not included in the $500,000, in order to help continue care. 

The maximum payout was established in 1974, and some lawmakers have discussed making changes to the rules regulating the fund. The Advocate reported that there was a discussion of several bills to reform the state's medical malpractice system, including stronger penalties for practitioners found at fault, adjusting filing deadlines for malpractice cases, and increasing the maximum payout to $1 million, but none of them moved past committee.

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Lundy Lundy Soileau & South, LLP

Main Office: 501 Broad Street Lake Charles, LA 70601 | Phone: 337-439-0707

Mailing Address: PO Box 3010 Lake Charles, LA 70602 | Fax: 337.439.1029