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Veteran Medical Malpractice

 
If you are a veteran and you or family members have been injured due to veteran medical malpractice, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), a VA medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine whether you have a medical negligence lawsuit. If you were injured due to VA hospital malpractice by a doctor or any medical personnel at a VA hospital, a veterans' lawyer can sue the US government under a federal law called the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA).

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Veterans Medical Malpractice

file your veteran hospital caseThe Federal Tort Claims Act allows a civilian to claim compensation from the US government when damage is caused by the negligence of an employee or agency (such as VA hospital malpractice) of the US government, including the Veterans Administration (VA). VA medical malpractice law falls within negligence law, which is applicable to all lawsuits by attorneys against medical professionals, from VA hospitals to doctors and dentists to podiatrists and chiropractors.

Increasingly, more medical negligence claims have been directed toward VA medical malpractice claims. According to the VA, the "environment of care" needed to be improved at 17 out of 23 medical facilities it inspected from 9/2004 to 10/2005.

VA Medical Malpractice History

2004

VA Medical MalpracticeA "Primetime Thursday" investigation by Diane Sawyer uncovered disturbing information by hidden cameras about the quality of care and questionable management practices at some VA hospitals, including misdiagnosis. One patient, Terry Soles, who served in the Navy during the war in Vietnam, went to a V.A. hospital for two years complaining of intense abdominal pain and diarrhea. His wife finally took him to a private doctor, who diagnosed cancer: Soles died three days later.

A former VA out-patient clinic psychiatrist was convicted of nine misdemeanor counts of assaulting three patients under his care. He was later convicted of "improper sexual relationship with patient."

2005

The News Hour with Jim Lehrer reported on what the VA is doing to improve patient safety. It revealed many lapses in patient safety over the last decade, including lack of hand washing, wrong site surgery, and that the VA performs surgery on the wrong veteran about once a month. And VA infections frequently occur.

2006

veteranmedicalnegligencelawsuitTwo years after a report regarding incompetent VA staff, US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the VA was still doing a poor job of checking health care providers' backgrounds. (At least 63 cases of malpractice have been found between 1997 and 2002 that resulted because of the failure of a supervisor to oversee residents. These cases included misdiagnosis, surgical and medication errors, and inadequate care.)

2008

The brachytherapy program at the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia was shut down, after it was learned that many veterans had received incorrect radiation doses over a six-year period.

2009

VA centers in three cities were accused of reusing colonoscopy and endoscopy equipment without properly sanitizing the equipment. At least 50 veterans tested positive for blood borne pathogens.

The VA sent letters to about 600 veterans with potential neurological diagnoses, but who do not have ALS—Lou Gehrig's disease—telling them they were diagnosed with this debilitating and deadly disease.

VA Infections

In November 2008, the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia sent a letter to more than 1,200 patients who were treated for ear, nose and throat, warning them they may have been exposed to infections.

Following a December 2008 investigation at the VA clinic in Murfreesboro, TN, officials discovered that clinic workers were not properly maintaining the medical equipment used to conduct colonoscopies. More than 6,000 patients were notified and offered free testing.

In March 2009 VA officials announced that veterans in South Florida may have been exposed to Hepatitis and HIV after being examined with contaminated medical equipment.

According to reports, more than 3,200 veterans who received colonoscopies at the Miami VA medical clinic between May 2004 and March 12, 2009 are at risk of exposure to both Hepatitis and HIV.

If you or a loved was diagnosed with Hepatitis, HIV or another infection after being treated at a VA medical clinic, you should seek help from a veterans lawyer—you are likely eligible for compensation including medical expenses, lost wages, long-term treatments (if necessary) and emotional pain and suffering.

Filing a Veteran Medical Negligence Lawsuit

cFiling a veterans' medical malpractice claim under the FTCA is complicated and typically requires help from VA medical malpractice lawyers who understand the requirements for filing medical negligence lawsuits. For instance, before you sue, an administrative claim has to be made against the VA for the full amount of damages you have suffered, and that is difficult and risky to determine. Once you have filed your administrative claim, you won't be able to ask for more damages—ever again--unless you have evidence that proves additional damages are warranted and you didn't have knowledge of them prior to filing your claim.

An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help determine how much in damages you are entitled to receive and will make sure you don't "short change" yourself.

After your administrative claim is filed with the FTCA, the VA is entitled to six months for investigation and review of your claim. The VA can then do the following:
  • Accept the claim and pay it out in full
  • Settle the claim for less
  • Reject the claim outright.
If your claim is rejected, your next step is to file a lawsuit in federal court. If the VA does nothing within six months, this means that your claim has been rejected. You can sue in federal court under the FTCA, which allows you to file a lawsuit within 2 years of discovering your injury and what caused it. But keep in mind that this timeframe includes the 6-month time period needed to file and complete your administrative claim. It is imperative that you meet these legal deadlines; if not you may lose your claim forever. A veterans' lawyer experienced in VA medical malpractice can help to protect your claim and possible recovery.

Veteran Disability

veteranmedicalnegligencelawsuitIn 2008, two veterans' advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs alleging that its failure to process disability claims in a timely manner has resulted in economic and other problems for hundreds of thousands of military personnel.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, you may be entitled to certain programs and benefits.

VA Legal Malpractice

If you have a VA Medical Malpractice claim, it is important that you work with a lawyer who is experienced and specializes in VA Medical Malpractice. Some veterans have their malpractice cases dismissed because their attorney wasn't experienced with VA issues and procedural requirements for bringing a claim under the FTCA. If your lawyer told you that your VA medical malpractice claim was valid, you may have a legal malpractice claim against your lawyer.

A number of VA hospitals have in place an "apology law": administrators and health officials admit their mistakes immediately and negotiate with the victims for extremely low settlements. Although a small settlement can help short-term, lawsuit settlements are typically 6 to 28 times greater than what hospitals are offering.

If you have experienced an injury or substandard care at a VA hospital or clinic, you should consult a VA medical malpractice lawyer who is experienced in VA medical malpractice claims, and receive proper compensation.

Veteran Medical Malpractice Legal Help

If you are a veteran and have suffered injuries or negligence at a VA hospital, please click the link below to submit your complaint to a veteran malpractice lawyer for a free claim evaluation.


Last updated on Sep-3-13


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