April 15, 2014 – Many people are under the incorrect assumption that if you are subjected toan injury by a government worker or government agency that you have no right to sue. For some reason, this is also believed to be true when it comes to medical malpractice that occurs within the confines of the VA hospital or a VA doctor’s office. Many veterans and their families simply think that because the medical care was provided by the VA, they have no rights to compensation when they are injured.
The Federal Tort Claims Act gives civilians, including veterans, the right to sue for compensation from the Federal Government when their injuries were caused by the negligent action of a federal employee or agency. This includes medical malpractice events that occur within the Veterans Administration or VA Medical Center.
Working With A Personal Injury Attorney
Filing a Federal Tort Claim against any government agency is a lengthy process and requires the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. For instance, to file a medical negligence claim against the VA, an administrative claim must first be filed with the VA for the full amount of the compensation being sought. The compensation is based on the economic loss that was a result of your injury and any suffering that you may have endured.
During this process you will want to work with a personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable about the federal tort system and understands how to work aggressively against such a large entity. There are many procedures that must be followed and many deadlines that must be met in these types of cases, all of which could determine the outcome of the case. Federal tort law is made complicated on purpose so that many people will give up before ever succeeding with their case. If you need to find a personal injury attorney a good place to start looking is the NOLO.com law directory. You can also do a local Internet search like injury lawyer in Raleigh or malpractice attorney in New York.
Filing an FTCA Claim
Once an administrative claim is filed, the Veterans Administration has six months to fully review the claim being made against them. During this six month investigation, the VA has the right to pay the compensation in full if they believe that the case is valid, offer a lesser amount because they only agree with a partial amount of the claim, or reject that claim altogether. If nothing is heard from the VA during the six month period, it is easy to assume that the claim has been rejected.
The VA may require certain evidence to be submitted, such as:
• Proof of current and future medical expenses
• Statement from the physician providing medical care
• VA medical report
• Statement from employer confirming that you have missed work.
If the claim is rejected, the injured party has approximately 18 months to file a claim against the VA under the Federal Tort Claims Act. While the law books state there is a two year grace period, the court system subtracts the time used during the administrative review (6 months) from the two years, leaving only 18 months to act.
VA malpractice rates have been skyrocketing over the last decade. If you or your loved one has been injured by the negligence of a VA hospital or VA medical professional, stand up for your rights and sue for compensation.
Author: Teresa Stewart is a freelance writer who frequently researches medical malpractice cases. She has discovered that many veterans who are injured as a result of medical negligence at a VA hospital never report the incident. She hopes this article will alert people about their options and fight for the compensation they deserve.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavy/5781615415/