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Veteran Medical Malpractice FAQ

What is Veterans medical malpractice?

Veteran medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional fails to meet a minimum standard of care for a patient or patients and that failure results in harm to the patient (or patients). The failure to meet a minimum standard of care can include a misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose in a timely manner, surgical error or prescription error. Typically, medical malpractice can happen with any doctor or hospital, but for a veteran, malpractice might happen with a VA doctor or VA hospital.

Does the veterans medical malpractice have to be committed by a VA doctor?

No. For a veterans medical malpractice claim, the malpractice must have been either at the hands of a VA-employed medical professional or during medical care requisitioned by a VA-employed medical professional. For example, if you have been sent by a VA doctor to a non-VA healthcare provider for a procedure and experienced medical malpractice at the hands of the non-VA healthcare provider, you can still file a VA medical malpractice claim.

Furthermore, veterans medical malpractice can be committed by anyone involved in the healthcare field, including doctors, nurses, technicians, dentists and psychiatrists.

What is the difference between negligence and medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice involves negligence on the part of the healthcare provider. That negligence must have resulted in harm to the patient for a medical malpractice claim to be filed. It is possible to experience negligence with no medical malpractice. Negligence is a broader legal term referring any failure to use reasonable care that results in harm to another party.

Who can file a veteran medical malpractice claim?

Anyone who is covered by the VA system, including veterans and their dependants can file a veteran medical malpractice claim.

How is a veteran medical malpractice claim different from other medical malpractice claims?

Veteran medical malpractice claims involve filing a lawsuit against the US government under the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA has specific rules for filing claims, including first filing an administrative claim and allowing the VA up to six months to investigate a claim before a lawsuit can be filed.

Why do I need a lawyer to help with a veteran medical malpractice claim?

The Veterans Affairs claims process can be long and complex, involving a variety of deadlines and a lot of paperwork. Furthermore, the VA has the right to reject your claim, which could result in the need to file a lawsuit to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries. Even if the VA accepts your claim, it still has the right to offer you less than what would be fair for any harm you suffered. There are no guarantees that the VA will properly compensate you for any injuries sustained as a result of medical malpractice. A lawyer can help to ensure you receive proper financial compensation for being the victim of veterans medical malpractice.

What activities constitute veterans medical malpractice?

There are a variety of activities that constitute veteran medical malpractice. These include failure to properly sanitize medical instruments prior to surgical procedures, failure to keep hospitals and treatment rooms clean, failure to diagnose a patient in a timely manner, failure to provide proper treatment, and failure to properly diagnose a patient. Basically, any action or inaction that is deemed not to meet a reasonable standard of care and causes harm to the patient could be considered veterans medical malpractice.

How common is veteran medical malpractice?

Unfortunately, the VA system is heavily burdened, which can lead to mistakes being made in patient care. Furthermore, because the system is so large, there can be problems having a patient's paperwork sent from one doctor to another, resulting in gaps in medical care. This exposes the patient to a risk of injury caused by inadequate care.
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Last updated on Dec-7-10