Medical Review Panels
Louisiana has a very unique system for medical malpractice cases that make it difficult for plaintiffs to bring successful lawsuits.
In almost all instances, before any lawsuits are filed, the case must be brought to a medical review panel. During this time any statutes of limitations (Prescription in Louisiana law) to file a suit in court is stayed so the plaintiff has time to file the case after a decision is made.
The panel is comprised of three health care providers practicing in the specialty of the defendant who acts as a Jury, and a lawyer who oversees the process, who acts like a Judge.
Both sides present their cases to the Judge and Jury by submitting a position paper arguing their case. This document may and often contain affidavits of witnesses, sworn deposition testimony, medical records, and other information relevant to proving their side of the case.
The panel comes to a decision by looking at the standard of care and then comparing that standard to the healthcare provider’s given care. Any deviation from that standard may lead to a determination of malpractice. It may also be the case that no malpractice occurred or that there was a disputed fact that would be relevant in determining if malpractice occurred. Whatever the panel decides, it must put forth a judgement within 180 days of the deadline for filing the position papers.