Expert Medical Evidence Usually Necessary to Support a Louisiana Medical Malpractice Claim

In Louisiana, “[t]o establish a claim for medical malpractice, a plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the standard of care applicable to the defendant; (2) the defendant breached that standard of care; and (3) there was a causal connection between the breach and the resulting injury. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2794.2.

Expert testimony is generally required to establish the applicable standard of care and whether or not that standard was breached, except where the negligence is so obvious that a lay person can infer negligence without the guidance of expert testimony. ***

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, we are not free to simply disregard the … unopposed expert medical evidence.”

Schultz v. Guoth, 2010-0343 (La. 1/19/01), citing Samaha v. Rau, 07-1726 (La. 2/26/08), 977 So.2d 880, 883, and Pfiffner v.Correa, 94-0924 (La. 10/17/94), 643 So.2d 1228.

Based on the foregoing, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and granted summary judgment in favor of a defendant obstetrician who offered a unanimous medical review panel opinion in his favor and an affidavit of one the medical review panel members in support of his motion. The plaintiff, whose baby was still born allegedly as a result of the medical malpractice, produced no expert testimony or counter-affidavit.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Louisiana, contact the experienced Baton Rouge, Louisiana medical malpractice attorneys at Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews to schedule a free consultation. Call Louisiana injury lawyers at (800) 929-7481.