Louisiana Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations & Laws 2024

If you experienced a significant medical error that has drastically impacted your life, or your loved one’s life, you may want to pursue compensation from the healthcare provider and the employer who is responsible. One of the first things to consider before bringing a claim forward is the Louisiana medical malpractice statute of limitations.

Statute of Limitations

In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases generally follows a one-year timeline from the date of the alleged malpractice or from the date when the patient discovered or should have discovered the injury. There are exceptions to this one-year rule, though.

Louisiana law follows the “discovery rule,” meaning that the statute of limitations may be extended if the patient did not immediately discover the injury that resulted from the malpractice. This usually means that the one-year period begins from the date the patient discovered the injury.

If the malpractice involves the healthcare provider leaving a foreign object in the patient’s body during surgery or other medical procedures, the foreign object rule then applies. This means that the patient has one year from the date they discover the foreign object to file a claim.

Keep in mind that Louisiana law has a “statute of repose,” meaning that no claim can be filed more than three years after the date the malpractice happened, no matter how severe the injury was.

It’s crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, as timing becomes extremely important when deciding to pursue a claim.

Definition of Medical Malpractice in Louisiana

Medical malpractice happens when healthcare providers deviate from the accepted standard of care, beyond what can be considered a simple mistake or a treatment that just didn’t work. The standard of care is what any other reasonable healthcare provider would do in the same situation. Establishing a medical malpractice claim in Louisiana usually requires proving these four elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient.
  2. Breach of Duty: The healthcare provider breached the duty of care and did not meet the accepted standard of care.
  3. Causation: The breach of duty directly led to the patient’s harm or injury.
  4. Damages: The patient suffered damages, such as physical or emotional harm, due to the healthcare provider’s actions or lack of action.

To prove these elements, medical malpractice cases rely on evidence such as:

  • Expert testimony
  • Medical records and documentation
  • Witness testimony
  • Demonstrative evidence
  • Legal arguments based on relevant laws, regulations, and precedents

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Louisiana

If you believe that you have a medical malpractice claim, you should consult with a qualified attorney to evaluate your case, advise you on your legal options, and determine whether you have grounds for a claim, such as your situation adhering to the statute of limitations.

Your attorney can investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged malpractice through medical records, consulting with medical experts, and gathering other relevant evidence.

Before a medical malpractice claim can be filed in Louisiana, the case must be submitted to a medical review panel. The panel will assess whether the evidence supports your claims. If you do not do this, the healthcare provider can request a dismissal of the claim as premature. If the case passes the panel, the next step is to file the claim in court.

After filing, both parties will exchange information and evidence relevant to the case, such as depositions, interrogatories, requests for documents, and other evidence.

Many medical malpractice cases in the state are resolved through settlement negotiations. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial.

Medical malpractice cases can be complex, so working closely with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to advocate for your rights and interests can help achieve your desirable outcome.


Q: Is There a Cap on Medical Malpractice in Louisiana?

A: Yes, the total amount of benefits (not accounting for any future medical care) cannot exceed $500,000, plus interest, from the filing date. The Louisiana Patient Compensation Fund may still pay your medical expenses in addition to any award you receive. An attorney can determine if your case might exceed this cap.

Q: What Is the Louisiana Patient Compensation Fund?

A: The Louisiana Patient Compensation Fund (PCF) is a state-run program. It provides a source of compensation for patients who have been injured due to medical malpractice. It is a “no-fault” system, meaning that patients can receive compensation without having to prove fault from a healthcare provider. Healthcare providers are required to participate in the PCF by paying into it through annual assessments.

Q: What Is the Prescriptive Period for Medical Malpractice in Louisiana?

A: The prescriptive period in Louisiana is the time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim, which is typically one year from the date of the alleged malpractice or from the date when the patient knows or should have known about the injury. There are exceptions to this rule, so you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney to better understand the specifics of your case.

Q: What Is Medical Malpractice in Louisiana?

A: Medical malpractice is when healthcare providers fail to adhere to the accepted standard of care, which results in patient harm. This can occur in diagnoses, treatments, surgeries, medication administration and management, and even follow-up care. Healthcare providers can include doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other medical staff.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Medical Malpractice Claim?

A: The time it takes to resolve a medical malpractice claim in Louisiana varies from case to case. It all depends on the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to negotiate a settlement, and the scheduling of the court. It can take several months to several years, sometimes.

Consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Experiencing malpractice during your medical treatment can result in consequences that span the rest of your life. At the Law Offices of R. Scott Iles, we provide guidance on the specific deadlines that might apply to your medical malpractice case. Our firm can work to ensure that you do not miss your chance to receive the compensation you deserve. Time can be a factor, so contact us today.