Public Hospital/Physician Claims

Claims against public hospitals and doctors include claims against Charity Healthcare Institutions, University Hospitals and clinics and claims against state run facilities.  Although most states have their own specific rules for addressing such claims, these types of claims are generally treated differently in all states than those claims brought against private, for profit institutions and physicians.

The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution provides sovereign immunity for claims brought by citizens of a state against the state.  In other words, a state can only be sued in instances in which it has passed statutes allowing itself to be sued.  Most states have passed laws which allow claims of medical malpractice to be brought against the state for malpractice that occurs in a state run facility.  However, those laws usually provide the state with some measure of qualified immunity.  For instance, many states have a cap on damages that may be obtained against it in any tort claim, including medical malpractice claims.  In Louisiana that cap is $500,000.  In Mississippi, that cap is $500,000 and is inclusive of medical expenses, past and future.  In Florida, one current law provides that certain state run hospitals can only be sued for damages which may not exceed $100,000.

In addition to caps on damages, most states also have procedures which must be followed before a medical malpractice claim may be brought in a state district court.  In Louisiana, a specific law, the Malpractice Liability for State Services Act, La. R.S. 40:1299.37, sets forth the applicable procedural and substantive law governing claims of medical malpractice against the State of Louisiana.  That law requires that any claim for medical malpractice must first be decided by a medical review panel  before it can be brought in a state district court.  Other states have specific requirements involving notice letters to state healthcare providers before a suit may be instituted.  If these prerequisite procedural requirements are not followed strictly, the claim can be dismissed.

For these reasons, it is necessary to retain experienced medical malpractice attorneys to review any type of claim against a state healthcare provider.  The Cochran Firm - Metairie has extensive experience in handling these types of cases.