Unfortunately medical negligence can and does happen. If negligence by a doctor or other medical personnel occurred at a VA hospital, you are entitled to sue the US government under a federal law called the [Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)].
As a Veteran, you have the right to seek redress by filing a claim under the FTCA, but keep in mind that:
- If you do not comply with the FTCA, you can have the claim dismissed.
- The statute of limitations is usually two years (each state has different time limitations).
Before you sue, an administrative claim has to be made against the VA for the full amount of damages incurred. You can file a claim on your own, but once filed, chances are next to nil that you will ever be able to ask for more damages than you already suffered. For this reason, you should consider getting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to ensure all your damages are filed.
Types of cases include failure to diagnose a surgical error to unsanitary hospital procedures causing infection. For example, the VA recently sent a letter out to thousands of veterans advising that if they had a prostate biopsy in the past few years, they may wish to get checked for the possibility of contracting Hepatitis C or AIDS exposure due to unsterile equipment.
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A Veteran is entitled to file claims under both the Federal Tort Claims Act and for 1151 benefits.
If you are a Veteran and require substantial future medical care, as part of your claim we can put together a life care plan that quantifies your costs for medical care in the private sector. That can be the basis of some recovery including other damages and you have the option of continuing to use the VA.