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What Is Lost Chance Of Survival?

Lost chance of survival is an issue that may arise in New Orleans medical malpractice lawsuits where the patient has passed away.  In cases where a patient — because of his or her medical condition — may have died regardless of medical treatment, damages can still be awarded if the doctor’s negligence caused the patient to lose a chance of survival.

A lost chance of survival in any degree may be compensated in damages. The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that to establish a connection between the patient’s death and the defendant’s medical malpractice, the survivor need only prove that the defendant’s medical negligence resulted in the patient’s chance of survival being reduced.  It is not necessary to prove that the patient would have survived if properly treated.

When considering the amount of damages to award for a loss of chance of survival, the jury is allowed to consider the survivor’s loss of support, loss of love and affection, and other wrongful death damages.  None of this, however, is as relevant as evidence of the lost percentage chance of survival at the time of the malpractice.  Such evidence will almost always require the testimony of a medical expert who can assess both the patient’s chance of having survived if properly treated and how much that chance was reduced.

A jury may also consider the significance of the reduction in the chance of survival.  For example, a survivor may argue that a ten percent reduction in chance of survival that lowers the likelihood of surviving from ten percent to zero is more significant than a ten percent reduction lowering the chance of survival from fifty percent to forty percent, because the patient was left with no chance of surviving.  Whether the patient would have lived longer if not for the medical malpractice may also be a factor in damages, even if he or she were unlikely to ultimately survive.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, we would be happy to answer your questions.  Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.