2017 Louisiana Laws
TITLE 9 - Civil Code-Ancillaries
RS 9:2794 - Physicians, dentists, optometrists, and chiropractic physicians; malpractice; burden of proof; jury charge; physician witness expert qualification
§2794. Physicians, dentists, optometrists, and chiropractic physicians; malpractice; burden of proof; jury charge; physician witness expert qualification
A. In a malpractice action based on the negligence of a physician licensed under R.S. 37:1261 et seq., a dentist licensed under R.S. 37:751 et seq., an optometrist licensed under R.S. 37:1041 et seq., or a chiropractic physician licensed under R.S. 37:2801 et seq., the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving:
(1) The degree of knowledge or skill possessed or the degree of care ordinarily exercised by physicians, dentists, optometrists, or chiropractic physicians licensed to practice in the state of Louisiana and actively practicing in a similar community or locale and under similar circumstances; and where the defendant practices in a particular specialty and where the alleged acts of medical negligence raise issues peculiar to the particular medical specialty involved, then the plaintiff has the burden of proving the degree of care ordinarily practiced by physicians, dentists, optometrists, or chiropractic physicians within the involved medical specialty.
(2) That the defendant either lacked this degree of knowledge or skill or failed to use reasonable care and diligence, along with his best judgment in the application of that skill.
(3) That as a proximate result of this lack of knowledge or skill or the failure to exercise this degree of care the plaintiff suffered injuries that would not otherwise have been incurred.
B. Any party to an action shall have the right to subpoena any physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractor for a deposition or testimony for trial, or both, to establish the degree of knowledge or skill possessed or degree of care ordinarily exercised as described in Subsection A of this Section without obtaining the consent of the physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractor who is going to be subpoenaed only if that physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractor has or possesses special knowledge or experience in the specific medical procedure or process that forms the basis of the action. The fee of the physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractor called for deposition or testimony, or both, under this Subsection shall be set by the court.
C. In medical malpractice actions the jury shall be instructed that the plaintiff has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, the negligence of the physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractic physician. The jury shall be further instructed that injury alone does not raise a presumption of the physician's, dentist's, optometrist's, or chiropractic physician's negligence. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to situations where the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is found by the court to be applicable.
D.(1) In a medical malpractice action against a physician, licensed to practice medicine by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners under R.S. 37:1261 et seq., for injury to or death of a patient, a person may qualify as an expert witness on the issue of whether the physician departed from accepted standards of medical care only if the person is a physician who meets all of the following criteria:
(a) He is practicing medicine at the time such testimony is given or was practicing medicine at the time the claim arose.
(b) He has knowledge of accepted standards of medical care for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of the illness, injury, or condition involved in the claim.
(c) He is qualified on the basis of training or experience to offer an expert opinion regarding those accepted standards of care.
(d) He is licensed to practice medicine by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners under R.S. 37:1261 et seq., is licensed to practice medicine by any other jurisdiction in the United States, or is a graduate of a medical school accredited by the American Medical Association's Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Association.
(2) For the purposes of this Subsection, "practicing medicine" or "medical practice" includes but is not limited to training residents or students at an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy or serving as a consulting physician to other physicians who provide direct patient care, upon the request of such other physicians.
(3) In determining whether a witness is qualified on the basis of training or experience, the court shall consider whether, at the time the claim arose or at the time the testimony is given, the witness is board certified or has other substantial training or experience in an area of medical practice relevant to the claim and is actively practicing in that area.
(4) The court shall apply the criteria specified in Paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this Subsection in determining whether a person is qualified to offer expert testimony on the issue of whether the physician departed from accepted standards of medical care.
(5) Nothing in this Subsection shall be construed to prohibit a physician from qualifying as an expert solely because he is a defendant in a medical malpractice claim.
Added by Acts 1975, No. 807, §1. Amended by Acts 1979, No. 545, §1; Acts 1985, No. 709, §1; Acts 1995, No. 821, §1; Acts 1997, No. 623, §1, eff. July 3, 1997; Acts 2003, No. 581, §1, eff. June 27, 2003.