Hospital negligence is unfortunately a very real concern in Louisiana (and in other states around the country). Despite the trust we place in hospitals to provide accurate diagnoses and proper treatment, doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel frequently make mistakes that lead to unnecessary illnesses, complications, and deaths.
If you believe you or a loved one may be a victim of hospital negligence, you may be thinking about hiring a lawyer. But, you may also have questions: Is it worth hiring a lawyer? Will the process of filing a claim be stressful? What can a hospital negligence lawyer do for your family?
10 Ways a Hospital Negligence Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has received substandard care in a Louisiana hospital, you may be entitled to financial compensation for medical malpractice. “Medical malpractice” is the legal term for negligence committed in the health care setting. If you have a medical malpractice claim (or if your family has a medical malpractice claim due to a loved one’s death), here are 10 important ways a hospital negligence lawyer can help:
1. Helping You Find a Qualified Specialist
If you have experienced hospital negligence, it is important that you see a qualified specialist. While it can be difficult to trust any health care provider after experiencing negligence in the hospital setting, there are good doctors out there, and you need to prioritize your physical and psychological recovery. A local hospital negligence lawyer will be able to help you find a qualified specialist (or qualified specialists) who can diagnose and treat your condition.
2. Reviewing Your Medical Records
Your lawyer can review your (or your loved one’s) medical records to determine if you have the evidence you need to pursue a hospital negligence claim. While hospital negligence can take many different forms, your lawyer will need to be able to pinpoint a specific mistake in order to pursue a claim for just compensation. If you don’t have all of your (or your loved one’s) medical records currently, your lawyer can request them on your behalf so you don’t have to deal with the hospital directly.
3. Consulting with a Medical Expert
In addition to reviewing the relevant medical records, your lawyer can also consult with a medical expert. The purpose of talking to an expert is to confirm that the hospital’s mistake fell below the applicable“standard of care.”If the expert believes that the hospital should have done better, he or she can prepare a report and provide testimony in support of your claim for damages.
4. Determining if You Have a Claim for Hospital Negligence
After reviewing your (or your loved one’s) medical records and consulting with a medical expert, your lawyer can help you make an informed decision about whether you should pursue a claim for hospital negligence. Not all mistakes in the hospital setting rise to the level of actionable negligence. Your lawyer can assess your likelihood of securing an out-of-court settlement or winning a verdict at trial; and, based on this assessment, your lawyer can explain whether it makes sense to move forward.
5. Filing Your Claim
If you decide to move forward, your lawyer will file your hospital negligence claim on your behalf. Filing a claim is itself a strategic process, and your lawyer will need to decide how best to present your claim in order to maximize your chances of securing a financial recovery. In most cases, hospital negligence claims get resolved through hospitals’ insurance policies, so from this point forward your lawyer will most likely be dealing with the hospital’s insurer.
6. Calculating the Financial Costs of the Hospital’s Negligence
Hospital negligence can lead to significant financial costs for patients and their families. All of these financial costs are recoverable under Louisiana law—subject to a cap of $500,000 on costs other than medical treatment. Typical costs patients, parents, and other loved ones can recover in non-fatal hospital negligence cases include current and future:
- Medical treatment
- Medications, medical devices, and medical supplies
- Rehabilitation, therapy, and other necessary services
- Home and vehicle modifications
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income and earning capacity
In fatal hospital negligence cases, families can recover these costs plus funeral expenses, burial or cremation expenses, and other losses.
7. Calculating the Non-Financial Costs of the Hospital’s Negligence
Louisiana law also allows for the recovery of non-financial costs in hospital negligence cases (subject to the cap mentioned above). Non-financial losses that are recoverable in hospital negligence cases include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
8. Negotiating for a Fair Settlement
Once your lawyer calculates how much you are entitled to recover, he or she will negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf. As mentioned above, this will most likely involve dealing with the hospital’s insurance company. This could take anywhere from several weeks to several months, and in some cases it can take a year or longer.
9. Helping You Make Informed Decisions about Settlement
If the hospital’s insurance company makes a settlement offer, your lawyer will help you decide whether to accept. This is an extremely important decision—if you settle for too little, you could bear the burden of the hospital’s mistake for years (if not decades) to come.
10. Taking the Hospital (and Its Insurance Company) to Court
Finally, if necessary, your lawyer will take the hospital (and its insurance company) to court. You will only need to go to court if the hospital’s insurance company is unwilling to consider a reasonable settlement. If your case goes to court, your lawyer will use the available evidence to prove that the hospital was negligent and prove how much you deserve to recover.
Talk to a Hospital Negligence Lawyer in Alexandra, LA for Free
Do you have a claim for hospital negligence in Louisiana? If so, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with Alexandria hospital negligence lawyer Chris J. Roy, Jr. in confidence, call 318-413-6191 or request an appointment online today.