[Page Updated 06/15/2022] Our veterans risk their lives to ensure that we all stay safe, and the least we can do is offer them quality healthcare whenever they require it.
Suppose you or your loved one suffered injuries or medical conditions due to substandard medical care or medical malpractice. In that case, you may have a civil claim and are eligible for compensation for your injuries. Contact our personal injury attorneys for legal guidance.
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Poor medical care can lead to medical errors, including medical malpractice, which are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Recent studies suggest a grim nationwide situation with more than 250,000 people dying due to medical malpractice.
Because of negligence and medical malpractice, a veterans’ affairs medical doctor may cause severe injuries or even wrongful death.
Some of the most common types of medical malpractice at VA medical centers include failing to diagnose a serious condition, surgical errors, incorrect treatment, birth injuries, misdiagnosis, medication errors, bedsores, dental mistakes, anesthesia errors, and failing to treat infections.
VA medical malpractice cases are much different than your average personal injury case, as VA hospitals are owned and run by the federal government. Victims must pursue legal action against the United States since they own the VA hospital in federal court according to the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The doctrine of sovereign immunity protects the United States government from civil lawsuits or criminal prosecution unless they have the government’s consent. However, the Federal Tort Claims Act provides a way for victims to seek compensation for any injuries caused by military medical malpractice.
Enacted in 1946, the Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA is a federal law for compensating employees for any injuries or damage due to the negligence of a federal government employee.
Under this act, the federal government acts as a self-insurer, recognizing liability for negligence and wrongdoings or omissions under the federal employee’s scope of work.
Victims can recover compensation under claims for medical negligence or any wrongdoings or omissions that may have caused injuries to a patient at a VA hospital.
However, to make a successful claim, the victim must prove the following:
The federal employee had a duty of care toward the plaintiff.
The federal employee breached their duty of care and acted negligently or wrongfully.
The breach caused injuries to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff is facing damages due to the VA medical negligence of the federal employee.
The claimant must provide the relevant documentation to prove these four elements, including doctor’s notes, medical bills, appointment schedules, and more.
Under the FTCA, the claim process is quite strict and may take much longer than your average personal injury case.
The claim’s process is as follows:
File a written claim with the relevant government department or administrative agency where the negligent federal employee works by completing a standard form 95.
Ensure that you mention all the damages in your initial filing, as your civil lawsuit will be limited according to the listed damages.
The relevant administrative agency has six months to either accept or reject your claim. If a claim is rejected, you will have six months to file a lawsuit against the federal government in federal court.
If you don’t hear from the federal agency after your initial claim filing, you have the right to pursue a federal lawsuit at any time.
Suing the federal government is complicated, but experienced VA medical malpractice attorneys can help investigate your claim and recover maximum compensation for your loss.
If you suffered injuries due to the negligence of a federal employee, there are strict deadlines that you must follow to file a claim.
According to the rules of FTCA, injured victims have 2 years following their injuries to file a claim against the administrative agency. Victims lose their right to pursue legal action upon failure to file within the two-year deadline.
There is also another deadline besides the two years. If the victim is unsatisfied with the federal agency’s findings, they have six months following the decision to file a civil lawsuit against the agency.
Unlike many other laws, there is no time extension for claims under the FTCA for minors or juveniles. Then there is the issue of the deadline for medical malpractice.
According to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 340.5, a plaintiff has one year to pursue legal action after discovering their injury, within three years following the date of injury, whichever comes first. In simpler words, upon knowing your injuries, you only have one year to file your lawsuit.
Although the FTCA applies to federal courts, they also enforce some state laws, including medical malpractice laws.
There are also some deadline exceptions for minors too. VA medical malpractice lawyers have the legal knowledge, so it is best to speak to them to learn your legal options.
Our personal injury attorneys have over 30 years of collective experience in helping protect the rights of injured victims and obtaining compensation for their loss through Veterans Affairs.
Our VA hospital accident attorneys can help investigate your case, gather the evidence, file claims promptly, and hold the federal employee at the Department of Veterans Affairs / VA medical facility accountable for your loss.
Contact us now or visit any of our law offices across California for a free case evaluation.
Ehline Law is a premier personal injury law firm that provides legal representation to injured victims across California. If you’ve suffered injuries at a VA hospital, contact us at (213) 596-9642 for a free consultation on your case.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer on the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.
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