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Medical malpractice: asking for compensation in Louisiana

As medical technologies have rapidly improved over the decades around the world, especially in Louisiana and throughout the United States, people have become more dependent on higher levels of care that can improve their quality of life. With widespread use of the health-care industry, medical malpractice has also increased throughout the country, including in Louisiana. Given that the price for medical malpractice is high for victims and their families, the Louisiana state legislature has made medical care one area with clear guidelines on what constitutes malpractice and what compensation is possible for anyone who becomes a victim of malpractice.

Malpractice is thus defined as any violation of the terms of a contract or any unintended harm done to a party receiving professional healthcare services. Every physician and healthcare professional has a duty to care for his or her patients. A physician must meet the standard of care at all times. When he or she does not, even if unintentionally, and a patient receiving the healthcare services is injured, medical malpractice has occurred. To qualify as medical malpractice, the health professional's breach of the duty of care must be the direct cause of the injury or harm suffered by the patient.

When a patient is injured due to the fault of a physician or other individual providing health care, the person or a representative can file a lawsuit seeking damages. A malpractice claim must be filed within the prescribed time limit under the law of limitations that applies to such cases.

Generally, a patient must file his or her claim within one year from the date of the injury or within one year from the date when the patient should have discovered the injury. The patient must file his or her complaint in a prescribed format that includes the amount of compensation sought.

Source: DOA.Louisiana.gov, "Part XXIII - Medical Malpractice," accessed on Nov. 13, 2014

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