Make no mistake. Emergency medical technicians – EMTs – are frequently heroes. Overwhelmingly, the majority of EMTs are dedicated healthcare professionals who often risk their own safety to rescue and treat accident victims and others who are injured or at risk.
But what if an EMT makes a mistake when dealing with a patient at the scene of an accident? What if an EMT actually injures you through negligence? Do you have any legal recourse? Can you be compensated if you are injured by a negligent EMT? Can a medical malpractice law firm in New Orleans help?
HOW DO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS ARISE IN LOUISIANA?
Medical malpractice claims in Louisiana may be triggered by the negligent actions of nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and any other medical professional or healthcare provider who is negligent – including emergency medical technicians.
If an EMT is negligent when dealing with a patient, the patient may bring a medical malpractice action against the EMT or the EMT’s employer. If that patient is you, you will need the advice and services of an experienced New Orleans medical malpractice attorney.
An emergency medical technician may be the first person on the scene when a traffic crash happens or when someone has a medical emergency. Medical malpractice claims based on negligence against EMTs and paramedics in Louisiana are rare.
WHO MAY BE THE TARGET OF A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
That’s because in some malpractice cases that involve EMTs, the EMT may not personally be the target of the malpractice claim. If a patient is injured by an EMT’s mistake, who might a lawsuit be filed against?
Emergency 911 services are operated by local governments, but ambulance services are privately owned. A victim of an EMT’s negligence might sue the EMT personally, the local government, or the ambulance service. A victim will need an attorney’s help at every stage of the process.
Most medical malpractice cases in Louisiana are settled out-of-court before a case can go to trial. However, if the case goes to trial and your claim prevails, your award may be “capped” by state law. (More about the damage caps will be explained below.)
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSULT A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAW FIRM IN LOUISIANA?
If you believe that you have been injured because of the negligence of an emergency medical technician – or the negligence of a paramedic – in Louisiana, you must contact an award-winning New Orleans medical malpractice attorney at once to discuss the details of your case.
You’ll need that help because medical malpractice claims are among the most complicated legal procedures. Medical malpractice claims in our state, for example, may be pursued against either private or public healthcare providers – and there are different rules for the two types of claims.
If your claim is against a private healthcare provider, you must follow the procedures specified by the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act. If your claim is against a public healthcare provider, you must adhere to procedures set forth by the Malpractice Liability for State Services Act.
WILL YOU BE ALLOWED TO FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
Before you can file a medical malpractice claim against an EMT or an EMT’s employer, you must make sure that Louisiana law actually allows you to file a claim.
The law in Louisiana permits medical malpractice claims when injuries are caused by the negligence (or the willful misconduct) of a healthcare provider. A medical malpractice lawyer can review the details of your case and determine if the courts will allow you to pursue a claim.
That is one reason why you must speak to a medical malpractice lawyer before anything else can happen. Your first legal consultation with a Louisiana medical malpractice lawyer is free, and there is no obligation.
HOW DO EXPERT WITNESSES HELP MEDICAL MALPRACTICE VICTIMS?
Seeing a lawyer promptly after you’ve been injured is imperative because Louisiana’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is only one year from the date of the injury.
Proving that an EMT was negligent in a manner that injured you may require help from a medical authority who, as an expert witness, can state that you would not have been injured if you had been treated by another, competent EMT in the same situation.
Testimony from a medical expert often makes the difference in medical malpractice cases. An expert can establish that an EMT or a paramedic acted negligently and that a plaintiff sustained a personal injury or injuries that he or she would not otherwise have suffered.
For a medical malpractice claim to prevail, you and your attorney will have to prove that a healthcare provider owed you a “duty” of care and was negligent in meeting that duty and in providing adequate medical care and treatment.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN BE AWARDED IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES?
You and your attorney must also prove that the healthcare provider’s negligence was the direct cause of your personal injury or injuries, and that your injury has resulted in quantifiable damages.
Two types of damages may be awarded in a Louisiana medical malpractice case:
Economic damages compensate medical malpractice victims for specific monetary losses arising from their injuries. Economic damages may include compensation for medical bills, prescription fees, lost wages, and lost future earnings capacity.
Non-economic damages compensate medical malpractice victims for damages that are not explicitly economic. Non-economic damages may include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship and/or consortium, and loss of the enjoyment of life.
WHEN ARE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AWARDS “CAPPED” IN LOUISIANA?
As mentioned previously, some awards for medical malpractice claims may be capped in Louisiana. If a medical malpractice defendant is not insured by the state, an award will not be capped, but that is rare in this state.
Louisiana law sets a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases when a defendant has insurance coverage from the state. The cap on non-economic damages was adopted by Louisiana in 1975 and has survived a number of legal challenges over four decades.
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS AS A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Most of the work done by EMTs in Louisiana is excellent work, but anyone can be momentarily distracted and make a negligent mistake.
If you have been injured because an EMT was negligent in the greater New Orleans area – or anywhere else in Louisiana – exercise your rights. Contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your case and your options.
If you’ve been injured by negligence in Louisiana, you are entitled to compensation, and you have the right to a good attorney’s help. As mentioned previously, your first meeting with a medical malpractice attorney is free, and there’s no obligation.
If your future and your health are at stake, do not wait to exercise your rights. Make the call at once and get the legal guidance that you need.