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What You Need to Prove in an LA Malpractice Claim


Medical professionals often make mistakes when providing treatment to their patients. These mistakes can cause everything from minor damage to tissues and organs to life-threatening infections and the failure to diagnose diseases like cancer.

If you believe your doctor made a mistake when providing treatment, you might want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

However, every mistake made during treatment does not provide the basis for a successful medical malpractice claim.

In Louisiana, there are certain elements of medical malpractice that you must prove to have a chance of recovering compensation for your injuries.

Definition of Medical Malpractice

There are two definitions of medical malpractice in Louisiana, one for claims against private healthcare providers and another for claims against public or state healthcare providers.

Medical Malpractice by State or Public Healthcare Providers

Medical malpractice is defined as a failure to exercise the reasonable standard of care in the provision of healthcare services when that failure is the proximate cause of an injury to the patient, according to Louisiana Revised Statutes (RS) 40:1237.1.

The reasonable standard of care is defined in Louisiana RS 9:2794 as the degree of knowledge or skill or the degree of care ordinarily exercised by medical professionals licensed to practice medicine in the state who are actively practicing in a similar community or locale under similar circumstances.

In other words, your doctor should have provided care that was similar to the care that would have been provided by another doctor in a similar situation.

Proving Malpractice

As the plaintiff, the burden is on you to prove that medical malpractice occurred. That means:

  • Establishing the reasonable standard of care for your situation - You will need testimony from one or more medical experts to prove what the standard of care was for your situation. Your attorney might also consult medical journals or opinions from prestigious medical organizations to establish the standard of care.
  • Proving that the medical professional violated the standard of care - A medical professional violates the standard of care when he lacks the knowledge or skills that are appropriate for the situation or fails to exercise reasonable care, diligence and sound judgment in applying the requisite knowledge or skills.
  • The breach of the standard of care caused injuries that otherwise would not have occurred - This means that the primary cause of your injuries was the actions of your doctor, not a preexisting medical issue or something that happened after your treatment.

Medical Malpractice by Private Healthcare Providers

Under state law, malpractice by a private healthcare provider means any unintentional tort or breach of contract based on the healthcare services that were provided or should have been provided.

A tort is defined as any breach of the duty of care or negligent act or omission that was the proximate cause of injury or damage to a patient.

The duty of care is a legal obligation to exercise the degree of skill ordinarily employed, under similar circumstances, by other medical professionals in good standing in the same community or locality. Medical professionals are also obligated to use reasonable care, diligence and their best judgment when applying their skills.

Violations of the duty of care could include:

  • Failing to render services in a timely manner
  • Negligence in the handling of a patient
  • Failing to appropriately train or supervise healthcare providers
  • Negligent acts or omissions during treatment
  • Prescribing defective drugs
  • Providing defective transplants or medical devices

The Baton Rouge personal injury attorneys at Simien & Simien have a detailed understanding of state laws on medical malpractice and how to apply them to your claim. We are committed to building a strong case that provides you the best chance of recovering fair compensation for all of your injuries.

Our medical malpractice lawyers charge no upfront fees and represent you on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no charge unless you receive compensation.

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