Since the 2002 implementation of the Patients’ Rights Law of 2002, medical malpractice laws in France have slowly shifted towards favoring aggrieved patients with legitimate medical malpractice complaints. These shifts in French law diminished some possibility for shared-fault complaints made by patients, however, rapidly expedited and eased the process for resolving legitimate medical malpractice no fault complaints by French patients into a single administrative process.
Understandably, the number of medical malpractice complaints and successful claims against negligent French medical professionals has steadily increased in the years following 2002 and began rising well over thousands of cases per annum in the early 2000s with increasingly larger payouts per case. Moreover, the French legal system still retains for patients the option to file criminal charges against negligent practitioners. As custom with French substantive law codified in the Penal Code (Code Pénal), egregious medical malpractice cases involving extensive personal injuries can be resolved via criminal complaints filed against grossly negligent practitioners. In particular French medical malpractice cases, this approach allows a combining of both civil, tort, and criminal complaint into a single process and is traditionally encouraged by the French legal system for victims of cases of negligence.
French Medical Malpractice Laws
The most commonly cited reasons for French medical malpractice law violations and ensuring civil, tort, or criminal claims filed by French patients include:
- Wrongful death, or involuntary homicide, in which a doctor or other medical professional’s failure to provide a reasonable standard of care results in the passing of a patient
- Wrongful medical harm, or involuntary injury to the patient, in which a medical professional’s negligent action causes injury or actual physical harm to the patient, including damage by way of failing to render reasonable medical aid
- Failure to diagnose or failure to prescribe appropriate medications to treat the diagnosis, including failure to assist a person in danger, including failure to obtain informed consent from patients, while also failing to provide reasonable care to a patient under an existing French doctor-patient relationship.
- Failure to provide reasonable instruction or follow-up with patient care per a reasonable standard of medical care, resulting in harm to the patient.
Fortunately, for French patients, medical malpractice claims originating in the criminal justice system do not incur any legal costs or evidentiary gather costs, which are provided by the state. However, civil claims under the dual-malpractice claim resolution scheme in France may incur some expenses although depending on the case-specific factors, these expenses may be the burden of the defendant, the French healthcare system, or the legal advocate attached to your case. However, in French medical malpractice laws violations cases, claims are subject to a period of limitations, which if allowed to expire, will prevent filing future claims. While French law varies, French medical malpractice statutes of limitations may be less than five years from the stabilization of harm caused by the original medical negligence.
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