Lee M. Schwalben, M.D., J.D., LLC
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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund

Citizens of Louisiana want to be able to trust their doctors, but when the carelessness of a medical professional hurts someone, the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund is the state's remedy. As The Times-Picayune explains, this $875 million fund comes with its own set of regulations, and it is meant as a way to keep insurance prices low for medical professionals while also providing for those who are victims of medical malpractice.

Doctors, other medical professionals, private hospitals, nursing homes and other private facilities pay into the fund, and members are granted a layer of protection in the form of medical review panels. These panels are the first formal step in bringing a medical malpractice suit, and any complaint will be heard by three doctors, who determine whether or not a patient received care that was outside the standards of good practice. While the findings of the panel are not binding, they do have weight in court. 

Could your pharmacy be wrong about your medicine?

There are plenty of residents in Louisiana who rely on pharmacies to get by, like you. Whether it's for mental or physical health, you likely depend on pharmacists and their judgment for at least one thing in your daily life. At the Schwalben Law Firm, we draw attention to the possible occurrence of error on the pharmaceutical side of things, and what you can do about it.

When people think of medical malpractice, they usually think of doctor's offices, hospitals, surgeons, or nurses who have caused harm through neglect. However, pharmacies can also be a source of medical negligence. As with any other area of practice that has a margin for human error, mistakes may happen. Some common issues can include:

  • Incorrect instructions
  • Incorrect dosage
  • Incorrect medication
  • Defective medication

Pedestrian deaths spike in Louisiana

With pedestrians deaths on the rise across the country, Louisiana has become one of the most dangerous states. According to reports from the Times-Picayune, Louisiana ranked third on the list of of states where pedestrian safety is at the most risk. Only Florida and Alabama were deemed less safe for those who walk.

The data came from a report by Smart Growth America, which measured people who walk to work combined with pedestrian fatality information available. Baton Rouge and New Orleans and Metairie area lead the state for most dangerous areas for those who walk. The reports also indicate that the elderly and people of color were at a greater risk of being hit by a car and killed while walking. The risk also increases for people who have lower household incomes and and for those who are uninsured, which means that the people who are at the greatest risk of being hit by a car are the least able to pay to treat their injuries.

Head-on wreck kills man over Memorial Day weekend

For most Louisiana residents, the Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start to summer and is marked by many a celebration with friends and family. Special recognition is given at this time also to those who have served in our country's armed forces. For others in Louisiana, Memorial Day weekend can have other significance as well.

The family of one person today may always remember this holiday weekend as a time of senseless tragedy and mourning as the 42-year-old was hit and killed by a driver who crossed the center line and caused a head-on collision. At this time the reason that led the driver who caused the crash to drive on the wrong side of the road has not been established. Blood samples have been taken in order to ascertain whether or not drugs or alcohol were involved and the results are pending.

Understanding whiplash

If you have been involved in an automobile accident in Louisiana, you should know about some of the symptoms to watch out for that may signal the development of an injury. As explained by WebMD, whiplash is one such injury that is commonly associated with car wrecks and you may be even more susceptible to it if you have been hit from the rear by another vehicle. This is because whiplash happens after your head and neck have forcibly and suddently been pushed forward and then back again. 

The symptoms of whiplash do not always appear immediately after an accident happens so you will want to pay close attention to how you are feeling for a few days after a crash. When you have a whiplash injury, the nerves, ligaments or muscles in your neck may be damaged. Bone damage is also possible in severe cases. There is no actual cure for whiplash but treatment is important. It generally involves managing any pain you experience and may also require physical therapy.

Louisiana worst in nation for texting while driving

Texting while driving has become a large problem on roads and highways across the country, and according to a report by EverQuote, Inc.’s safe driving app, EverDrive, Louisiana is the worst in the nation when it comes to distracted driving. There was a 43 percent rate of phone use while driving in Louisiana, and the nationwide average had 38 percent of drives containing an instance of distracted driving. The data was collected through an app that used GPS and ran in the background of participants’ phones to rate each drive they made for a number of factors including acceleration, rotation, and the device screen activating.

Although Louisiana was not in the bottom of the overall state rankings, distracted driving is a problem that can cost people their lives. WBRZ reports that Allstate was visiting college campuses with a simulator that shows the devastating effects distracted driving can have. Drivers enter the stationary vehicle and face an unexpected obstacle while also on their phone. This program was developed because more than half of accidents are due to distracted drivers using their phones. Many of the drivers most at risk are also young and less experienced on the road.

Types of surgical errors

Do you or someone you love have to undergo a surgical procedure in the coming future? Or, maybe you have already had a procedure and believe that something isn't quite right. Either way, you should educate yourself about some of the types of errors that can be made. Ideally, preventing a problem is what you want to have happen but if this cannot happen, you will at least want to know what to look for to spot it as quickly as possible.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, poor communication among surgical team members may well be at the heart of some very serious types of surgical errors. Referred to as never events, these mistakes involve operations performed on the wrong people which may happen in cases where two patients have similar last names. Another type of surgical never event is a surgery that is performed on the wrong part of the body. For neurosurgeons it is said that operating on the wrong part of the spine may be a big risk. Another example may be the removal of a right ovary instead of a left ovary.

Compensation sought after worker's death

Residents in Louisiana who must grieve the loss of a loved one in an unnecessary accident at a work location may understandably be wondering what type of justice can come from such a horrible and unnecessary event. Many laws and regulations are in place designed specifically to keep employees safe while on the job. These regulations may include guidance on safety practices, requirements for maintaining equipment and more. 

A sad reality of life is that accidents on work sites can and do happen more often than people would wish. Even worse is the reality that innocent people die and their family members are left to live with the holes in their hearts. Such is the case for three people who died in an accident that happened after a tank exploded at a business in February of this year. The explosion took place at a containerboard mill in Louisiana.

Wife of former football player files for wrongful death

It has been just over a year since the death of former Saints lineman, Will Smith, who was shot eight times and killed after rear-ending another car and driving away. The New Orleans Advocate reports that Racquel Smith, his late wife, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Racquel Smith is suing Cardell Hayes, the man who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Will Smith. Hayes also shot Racquel Smith in the leg during the altercation. The lawsuit states that Hayes is the sole cause of her late-husband’s death, which in addition to her injuries from the shooting, have left the family at a significant loss both financially and psychologically. The lawsuit also names the car insurance companies for Hayes and Smith’s vehicles, which were involved in two crashes before the shooting.