For a New Orleans resident to file a medical malpractice claim, the procedure set forth in the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act must be followed. The Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act requires that any claim of medical malpractice be screened by a “medical review panel” before a lawsuit to recover damages can be filed in court.
A medical review panel is composed of three health care providers and is administered by an attorney chairman. The attorney chairman does not have a vote and merely acts to facilitate the panel. The injured person and the medical provider being accused of malpractice each select one of the three health care providers. Once those two panel members are selected, they must agree upon who will be the third health care provider selected to the panel.
The purpose of the medical review panel is to review the evidence and determine if it supports a finding that the defendant violated the necessary standard of care in treating a patient. If they conclude that the physician did not meet the standard of care, then they also must determine if the violation resulted in any injuries, disability or permanent impairment to the patient. If they determine that an injury, disability or permanent impairment did occur, then they must evaluate the degree of that disability or impairment.
Although a civil suit in a medical malpractice case cannot be filed until after the panel has reached its decision, a conclusion that the evidence does not support a finding of medical malpractice does not bar the patient from filing a civil lawsuit. The finding, however, is considered an expert opinion and is admissible as evidence in the court case.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice and have any questions on how to proceed, please call us at 504-355-0057 or 855-GERTLER. We would be happy to help you.