Before filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice, Louisiana law requires claimants to submit to certain prescribed procedures. Only after complying with the requirements of procedural law can a claimant file a lawsuit against a qualified healthcare provider.
First, a claimant must send a request to the Division of Administration for review of the claim for malpractice. The request must ask for a medical review panel to be assembled, which is comprised of three healthcare practitioners who specialize in providing services in the same areas of medicine as the putative defendant. An attorney is appointed to provide substantive legal advice to panel physicians.
Second, the medical malpractice panel reviews all the relevant evidence submitted by the parties. The panel makes a decision regarding whether there has been a failure on the part of the defendant to provide to the claimant the standard of care required by physicians.
After this procedure, the claimant may commence a lawsuit against the defendant. The amount of damages recoverable under Louisiana law is capped by statute. At any point, the parties may settle the dispute by agreement.
According to the Louisiana Record, as of 2015, Louisiana had the highest rate of medical practice claims out of all other states, which includes settlements or judgments in medical malpractice claims. By statute, Louisiana created a trust fund, called the Patient’s Compensation Fund, out of which injured persons are paid. Defendants are obliged to pay the first $100,000. the remaining amounts up to the cap, as well as future damages, are paid out of the trust fund, which has more than $900 million.