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If you believe you may be the victim of medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to turn to the Lake Charles personal injury attorneys at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC.
Every day people put their health in the hands of skilled medical professionals. When that trust is breached and more harm than good is done, a medical provider may be held accountable for their negligent actions.
Most healthcare providers are dedicated professionals who take pride in what they do. However, the number of medical errors taking place in the United States is growing at an alarming rate. According to the respected Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States.
At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we understand that mistakes happen. Nevertheless, negligence is never just a mistake. Medical malpractice is a serious offense. It violates a patient’s sense of trust and can lead to serious and even life-altering medical consequences.
If you or a loved one suspects you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, contact the experienced legal team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC for help. We can review the facts of your case and go over all your legal options. Don’t face this alone. Call 337-800-8800 and let us help you get the justice you deserve.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
The term “malpractice” is used to apply to a variety of situations. In legal terms, medical malpractice is much more than a physician making an honest mistake. Medical malpractice can be defined as any situation where a physician, healthcare professional, or even a hospital, injures a patient through negligent acts or omissions.
Malpractice can happen at any stage of the medical treatment process from initial diagnosis, treatment, health management, and the recovery process. Medical malpractice is the failure of those in charge of your care to fulfill their duty to take reasonable care with your health.
For a situation to be considered medical malpractice, specific legal conditions must first be met. The most basic of these conditions is the establishment of a doctor-patient relationship. A victim must be engaged in a verifiable doctor-patient relationship. That means there is documentation showing that a patient sought out medical help or advice for a condition from a physician or clinic. The law does not allow a person to seek malpractice compensation because they were misdiagnosed or given bad medical advice from a friend, family member, or casual acquaintance.
The other conditions that must be met for a valid medical malpractice suit to exist include:
- A violation of the standard of care: A patient seeking medical care of any kind reasonably expects that the physician will deliver care that is either consistent with or equivalent to that provided by other medical professionals of the same skill level and background. When a physician or healthcare professional strays from this standard, it can be considered a violation of the standard of care.
- Negligence on the part of the professional caused an injury: A patient must demonstrate that a violation of the standard of care caused an injury or damage. An unfavorable outcome from treatment is not malpractice. The physician must have been negligent in their actions or lack of action which caused an injury that would not normally have occurred.
- The injury resulted in damage or further injury: A patient must also prove that through the provider’s negligence and shortcomings they suffered harm that caused damage. If you are being treated by a physician, chances are you are suffering from some health condition or complaint. You must demonstrate that a physician’s negligence caused further injury or harm that would not have otherwise resulted from the normal course of treatment.
The burden of proof is on you, the victim, to show that the healthcare provider or physician is responsible for your current condition. You must establish that it is more likely than not that this healthcare provider was negligent and caused you harm. While it sounds overwhelming and intimidating, the legal team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC can take that burden off your shoulders and carry it for you.
Types of Medical Malpractice
A number of scenarios may lead to a medical malpractice suit. Every case has unique elements that can give medical malpractice suits gray areas, and not simply be straightforward black and white, yes or no.
In general terms, however, these are the common categories that a medical malpractice suit may fall into:
- Improper treatment
- Failure to treat
- Failure to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failure to warn of known health risks
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries
While it may seem like an extensive list, there may be other situations that can constitute a medical malpractice case. Consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is the best way to determine if you have a case against a medical professional. At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we can review the circumstances of your situation and medical history and help you determine what the best legal option for your case may be.
Statute of Limitations
If you have suffered an injury and suspect medical malpractice was the cause, you need to speak with an experienced attorney immediately. The state of Louisiana has a very short statute of limitations on when a victim may file a legal claim against a medical provider. An injured patient only has one year from the date of the harmful action, or lack of action, to take their case to court.
In some situations, you may not even realize right away that a negligent action caused you harm. In that case, the one-year time limit begins on the date you discovered the injury. However, bear in mind that the burden of proof falls on you; you must demonstrate that you had no way of knowing that an injury was caused until that date.
That means that in Louisiana, you have an extremely limited amount of time to get your case to court. Once the time limit has expired, the physician or healthcare facility named in your lawsuit can ask the court to dismiss the case and the court will grant that request. Even though you are suffering and probably still dealing with the aftermath of your experience, if you don’t consult with an attorney and act quickly you can miss your opportunity to get the compensation you deserve.
That’s why, at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, compassion comes first. We treat you with dignity and we respect the fact that you are dealing with a tremendous amount of physical and emotional pain. We work side by side with you to hold negligent physicians and facilities accountable.
Louisiana Medical Malpractice Damages Cap
Louisiana is unique in many ways when it comes to the amount of compensation you may be able to receive for medical malpractice cases. To begin, Louisiana places a cap on the amount of damages a patient is able to recover through a successful medical malpractice case. The state limits the total damages to $500,000. Future medical costs associated with treating the injury caused by the malpractice are not subject to the cap.
While a number of states place a cap on medical malpractice awards, Louisiana is unique in that it places the cap on the total amount of damages, not just on certain categories of damages. In many states, there may be a cap on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, while economic damages, such as the cost of medical care and lost income, are not subject to such caps. Louisiana is also unique in that while other states’ Supreme Courts have called medical malpractice caps unconstitutional and struck them down, the Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld the cap.
To further complicate matters, Louisiana has a different method of paying out medical malpractice damages. Any award of more than $100,000 is paid out through the Louisiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. This fund is basically an “insurance” type of fund that will cover all in-state healthcare providers who pay into the fund and meet certain state eligibility guidelines.
In essence, this means that the first $100,000 of an award is the financial responsibility of the physician or healthcare provider. The remaining amount will be paid out by the Patient’s Compensation Fund.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC
You are already suffering. The last thing you want weighing you down is a legal battle while you continue to fight to regain your health. The team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC understands your delicate situation. We also understand that medical bills are beginning to pile up. Should you continue to pay out of your own pocket for someone else’s negligence? At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we don’t think so. That’s why we fight so passionately to protect your rights and get you the financial compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured and suspect medical malpractice is to blame, contact us right away at 337-800-8800 to schedule a consultation. Your health has already been put in jeopardy. Don’t let them get away with putting your financial future at risk too.