The Value of Higher Limits
Protection Against Uncapped Claims
Under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act, damages are capped at $500,000 plus continuing medical expenses for providers who purchase the statutorily-required $100,000/$300,000 primary layer and pay the applicable Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF) surcharge.
FACT: Not all claims qualify for a damages cap under this Act.
Even though the frequency of uncapped claims is low, their cost can be substantial. Healthcare providers should thoroughly assess their practices and consider the purchase of higher liability limits for protection against uncapped claims.
Although a variety of claims may not be covered by the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act, some common circumstances include:
Third-Party Liability Disputes
Example: The healthcare provider treats a patient for a contagious infection and fails to warn the patient to avoid direct contact with others. Another family member contracts the infection and becomes septic and loses an extremity. That family member sues the healthcare provider for their damages. Since the family member is not a patient of the healthcare provider, the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act does not apply and the damages are uncapped.
Example: The healthcare provider clears a patient for a commercial driver’s license to operate a bus. Two weeks later, the patient is operating the bus and has a heart attack causing an accident injuring a passenger. The passenger sues the healthcare provider for negligently clearing the patient to operate a commercial vehicle seeking damages for their injuries. Since the passenger is not a patient of the healthcare provider, the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act does not apply and the damages are uncapped.
Example: The healthcare provider practices medicine remotely via video communication technology and treats a patient in another state. The patient alleges malpractice and files suit in the state where they reside. Since the suit was not filed in Louisiana, the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act does not apply and the damages are uncapped.
Example: The healthcare provider treats a patient in Louisiana but the patient resides in another state. The patient alleges malpractice and files a lawsuit in the county where they reside in that state. Some states have Long Arm Jurisdiction which may prevent the lawsuit from being transferred to Louisiana. In this scenario, a court could rule that the lawsuit would remain in that state and would be subject to their malpractice laws which may not cap damages.
Louisiana healthcare providers can protect themselves from liability for uncapped claims by purchasing limits of liability above $100,000/$300,000. The cost for higher limits of coverage is modest considering the potential exposure of an uncapped claim.
The Value of Higher Limits
The premium LAMMICO charges for limits above $100,000/$300,000 is deeply discounted because of the relatively small number of claims that may fall outside the protection of the cap. Now more than ever, healthcare providers should consider incurring the minimal expense for protection in the event of an uncapped claim.
Choosing higher limits with LAMMICO is a cost-effective way to limit personal financial exposure.
Your LAMMICO Marketing Representative can work with you to address your specific inquiries with greater insight. Call 800.452.2120 or contact your LAMMICO appointed agent today.