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Medical malpractice claims are complex personal injury cases, and they can be difficult to navigate without the assistance of a skilled attorney. One aspect of medical malpractice law in Louisiana that is particularly important to understand is the “lost chance” doctrine. This doctrine refers to the idea that a patient may be entitled to compensation if their chances of recovery or survival were diminished due to a healthcare provider’s negligence.

In this blog post, our Baton Rouge medical malpractice attorneys explore the impact of the lost chance doctrine on medical malpractice claims in Louisiana, including the elements necessary to establish a lost chance claim and the damages that may be awarded.

What Does Lost Chance Mean in a Louisiana Medical Malpractice Claim?

As it relates to medical malpractice claims, “lost chance” refers to a legal principle that allows for the recovery of damages when a healthcare provider’s negligence reduces a patient’s chance of survival or recovery. Louisiana’s lost chance doctrine recognizes that even if the patient was not guaranteed to survive or fully recover, the healthcare provider’s negligence may have contributed to a decreased likelihood of achieving the desired outcome. Under this doctrine, patients in Louisiana can be compensated for the lost chance of a better outcome, even if the ultimate outcome was still unfavorable.

What is the Impact of Lost Chance on a Louisiana Medical Malpractice Claim?

In Louisiana, the lost chance doctrine can have a significant impact on a medical malpractice claim. Under this doctrine, a patient can still recover damages even if the doctor’s negligence did not directly cause the patient’s injury or death (which is typically required for a personal injury claim), but instead only reduced the patient’s chances of a better outcome. 

For example, if the plaintiff had a 40% chance of survival before the defendant’s negligence, and the negligence reduced the chance to 20%, the plaintiff may be entitled to recover damages for the 20% lost chance. This can be particularly important in cases where a patient’s chance of recovery or survival was already low, as even a small decrease in those chances can have a significant impact on the patient and their loved ones.

Elements Necessary to Establish Lost Chance in a Louisiana Medical Malpractice Claim

To establish a lost chance claim in a Louisiana medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove the following elements:

  1. The defendant (the medical provider) had a duty to the plaintiff (the patient) to provide appropriate medical care.
  2. The defendant breached that duty by failing to provide appropriate medical care.
  3. The breach of duty caused the plaintiff to lose a chance of recovery, survival, or a better outcome.
  4. The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the lost chance.

If all of these elements are established, the plaintiff may be entitled to recover damages proportional to the percentage of chance lost due to the defendant’s negligence.

What Damages Can Be Awarded for My Louisiana Medical Malpractice Claim?

If a patient successfully establishes a medical malpractice claim based on the lost chance doctrine, they may be entitled to a variety of damages, including:

  • Medical expenses related to the lost chance and any necessary ongoing treatment
  • Lost wages or income due to the lost chance
  • Pain and suffering, including physical pain and emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, including the inability to engage in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • Other related losses

Again, the damages awarded in medical malpractice cases involving lost chance may be limited by the percentage of chance that was lost. For example, if a patient had a 50% chance of survival before the healthcare provider’s negligence and a 25% chance of survival after the negligence, the damages awarded may be limited to 50% of the total damages.

Ask Our Louisiana Medical Malpractice Attorneys About a Lost Chance Claim

Medical malpractice claims can be complex and challenging, and the lost chance doctrine adds another layer of complexity. If you believe that you have lost the chance to recover from a medical condition due to a healthcare provider’s negligence in Baton Rouge, it is crucial to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate this complex legal terrain.

Our law firm has a team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Baton Rouge who can help you navigate the legal process and determine whether you have a valid lost chance claim. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

At Dudley DeBosier, every prospective plaintiff gets a free case assessment. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with the medical malpractice attorneys Baton Rouge residents turn to for exemplary legal representation. We will evaluate your case and provide you with personalized legal advice and guidance throughout the process. We love to help people protect their future and get what they deserve.

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