When a New Orleans resident wants to file a medical malpractice claim, he/she must follow the procedure set forth in the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act. Under this act, any claim of medical malpractice must be screened by a “medical review panel” before a civil suit can be filed in court.
This medical review panel consists of an attorney and three health care providers. The attorney acts as chairman of the panel, but does not have a vote. The plaintiff and the defendant each select one of the three health care providers. The third health care provider is chosen by agreement of the two providers already selected to the panel.
The role of the medical review panel is to review the evidence and determine if it supports a finding that the defendant violated the standard of care required when treating a patient. If they do find that the physician did not meet the standard of care, then the panel must determine if that violation led to any disability or permanent impairment to the plaintiff. If they do determine that a disability or permanent impairment occurred, then they must evaluate the degree of that disability or impairment.
A civil suit may only be filed after the panel has rendered its decision. A conclusion by the panel that the evidence does not support a finding of medical malpractice does not bar the plaintiff from filing a civil suit. 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 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER. We would be happy to help you.