When a New Orleans resident wishes to pursue a medical malpractice claim, Louisiana law requires that the matter be screened by a Medical Review Panel before proceeding. While an adverse opinion from the Medical Review Panel does not bar an injured person from pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit, the opinion of the panel is admissible in later court proceedings.
The Medical Review Panel does not function like a court of law. There is no live testimony or cross-examination of witnesses. Instead, the parties are required to submit all evidence they wish the panel to consider in written form. If a party believes that the testimony of any of the parties or witnesses is necessary for the Medical Review Panel’s determination, depositions may be taken prior to the Medical Review Panel being convened. A transcript of this deposition testimony may then be submitted to the panel.
The other evidence that the panel may consider is broader than that usually seen in court. While it includes the relevant medical records of the injured party and any reports of medical experts submitted, the parties may also submit excerpts from medical books and treatises that they believe the panel should consider. A copy of all of the evidence submitted must be provided to each member of the panel, and all parties involved are to be given complete access to all material submitted. If the panel finds that additional information is needed, it is empowered to request and obtain all information necessary to render a determination.
The Medical Review Panel also is allowed to consult with other medical authorities when reviewing the matter. If it chooses to do so, however, all parties involved must be provided with the names of these medical authorities and given an opportunity to depose them.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, please rely upon our experience to help you. We can be reached at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER and would be happy to answer your questions.