When we seek treatment for an illness or injury, we expect the medical professionals we consult to offer competent, adequate treatment. If a medical professional does not provide a reasonable standard of care, additional harm and even death might result. Healthcare providers hold a sacred trust, and when they violate that trust, they should be held accountable.
If you developed an illness or injury because of poor care by a physician, hospital, or other healthcare provider, a Houma and Terrebonne Parish medical malpractice lawyer could help you obtain compensation for your losses. Working with a personal injury attorney like Damon J. Baldone to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is one way to ensure that doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers are held accountable for their poor care.
Understanding Medical Malpractice
When someone is injured in an accident, they may hold the responsible party liable for their injuries if they can prove that the party was negligent. Medical malpractice is a specific form of negligence that applies to individuals and facilities licensed to provide medical care.
Medicine is not exact, and each body is unique in the way it responds to illness and various treatments. The fact that an individual did not respond well to treatment or had a bad outcome after an intervention does not alone indicate medical malpractice. However, if the healthcare facility or the treating professional did not exercise a reasonable degree of competence, diligence, or skill, they might be guilty of malpractice.
Determining whether malpractice occurred requires specialized knowledge and experience. An attorney in Houma and Terrebonne Parish could review the circumstance of an injury or condition and gather expert medical opinions about whether a malpractice lawsuit is viable in a specific situation.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Negligence Claims
The timeframe for taking legal action is called the statutes of limitations. When an individual attempts to bring a lawsuit after the statute of limitation has expired, the court will likely dismiss the case for being untimely, meaning the patient would be unable to recover any damages whatsoever.
Louisiana Civil Code §9:5628 requires parties alleging medical malpractice to file suit within one year of the negligent act or omission. If the medical negligence was not immediately apparent, the injured person has one year from the date they discovered or should have reasonably discovered that their condition resulted from poor medical care. However, if more than three years have passed since the act of medical malpractice, the patient may not bring a lawsuit.
Furthermore, a patient must submit their case to a Review Panel before the statute of limitation expires and before filing a lawsuit, but the “clock” stops running while the panel conducts its review. A lawyer in the parish seat of Terrebonne could help a patient prepare their submission, which should include medical records, expert opinions, witness statements, and other evidence. Once the panel has responded, the clock begins running again and the patient likely has only a short time to file their medical negligence lawsuit.
Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Actions
Damages are the harms someone suffers as a result of medical negligence and may include out-of-pocket expenses like medical care and lost income, as well as intangible losses like physical and emotional pain, future medical expenses, and diminished future earning power.
However, the law limits the total damages a patient could collect for medical malpractice to $500,000. The only type of damage excluded from this cap is medical expenses. Even if a jury awards a patient with a significantly higher amount in compensation, a judge must reduce the damage award to the statutory maximum of $500,000.
A negligent healthcare provider who is found liable must pay the first $100,000 of a patient’s damages. The Louisiana Patient Compensation Fund pays the remaining balance. Most healthcare providers pay into the fund, which acts as an insurance pool to protect doctors and healthcare facilities from significant liability for their negligent care.
Trust Your Claim to a Houma and Terrebonne Parish Malpractice Attorney
If a healthcare provider left you in worse health than you were in before seeking their help, you deserve to be compensated for your ordeal. However, the legal system makes it difficult for patients to hold the medical professionals that harmed them accountable.
The Houma and Terrebonne Parish medical malpractice lawyer at our firm has a deep understanding of the legal system and could make it work for you. Your time to act is limited, so schedule a consultation today.