There are many times in a person’s life when they need the advice or care of a medical professional, whether a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, psychiatrist, therapist, or other individual or facility with the requisite credentials to render medical care. It is with great trust in the skill and expertise of these medical specialists that a person relies on the level of care that he or she will receive. In most cases, the advice or care that is provided meets or exceeds the standard of care to which these individuals or facilities are held. However, when there is a breach in the duty of care obligation, the results can be devastating. The harm that is done often overturns the lives of the victim and his or her loved ones. Despite the struggle to overcome the horrific new burdens, it is crucial to consult an attorney as soon as possible as there is a limited time in which to bring a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations – Louisiana’s Prescriptive Period
Many people who have been harmed as the result of a preventable error made by a medical professional do not realize that the clock starts ticking right away. The amount of time, and the specific moment when it begins to run, depends on the law of the state in which the injury occurred. In Louisiana, the time period is referred to as the prescriptive period. A person who was injured in Louisiana has a period of one year from the date of the act or failure to act that comprises the alleged malpractice. See Louisiana Revised Statutes § 9:5628. There is language in the statute does allow for situations where the person was unable to discover, through an exercise of reasonable diligence, the injury. Under these circumstances, the person has one year from the date that he discovered, or reasonably should have discovered, the harm.
In addition to the one year limit, there is an absolute limit of three years from the date on which the medical mistake actually was made. This means that a person who does not discover the injury within the three year period is left with no options for pursuing compensation against the doctor or other medical professional who caused the harm. Although the case technically may still be filed after the statute of limitations has run, it is a certainty that the defendant’s attorney is going to file for a dismissal of the case and there is nothing that the court can do other than grant the request. An action where the time limit has lapsed is referred to as “prescribed.”
Additional Factors to Consider
Unlike many states, Louisiana does not make an exception if the victim of the medical malpractice was a minor child, which means that the parents or guardian of a child who is harmed through the negligence of a healthcare provider must act quickly to get the legal help that the child needs to obtain the compensation necessary for long-term care.
Before commencing a case against a defendant that falls within the definition of a qualified healthcare provider (See Louisiana Revised Statutes § 9:5628), the plaintiff must submit the matter to a medical review panel, which determines whether or not there is a viable claim. Once the determination has been made, a plaintiff has 90 days from the receipt of the decision to file a case with the applicable court.
Stern Law, PLLC Advocates for Medical Malpractice Victims
There are many different elements that go into the development of a strong medical malpractice case and it requires time and effort to build each part of the legal action. Unfortunately, some individuals who are harmed as the result of a healthcare provider’s negligence do not realize how short the window is to get the case put together and filed. As soon as a person learns that he has been harmed as the result of medical negligence, or even believes that this is possible, it is crucial to contact experienced attorneys. At Stern Law, PLLC, our attorney works tirelessly for more than 30 years to get our clients the compensation that they deserve after being harmed by medical malpractice, which does not make up for the pain and suffering that they may endure for the remainder of their lives.
In addition to fighting for those who have suffered as the result of a medical professional’s negligence, we also provide answers and resources for those who have been harmed, or believe they may have been injured, as the result of malpractice. We have experienced representatives available to respond to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of whether or not you are a client. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.