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Filing a Veteran Medical Malpractice Claim

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If you are a veteran or family member of a veteran you have the right to seek medical service through the Veteran's Administration (VA), a large division of the US government.

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:
  1. If you do not comply with the FTCA, you can have the claim dismissed.

  2. The statute of limitations is usually two years (each state has different time limitations).
If your claim is filed within two years and it is not accepted, nor is it openly rejected, you are at liberty to file a suit within six months. The case is then assigned to a U.S. Attorney and is prosecuted in federal court - a bench trial with a federal judge, not a jury trial. Be prepared.

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.

Know Your Rights
Most Veterans first seek help from an Accredited Services Officer (ASO) who will generally pursue benefits under Act 1151, which allows for a veteran's disability benefits to be increased if he is injured as a result of medical malpractice by the Veterans Administration. But what your ASO may not know (many are not trained in medical malpractice) is that you may need a separate malpractice claim.

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.

READ ABOUT THIS LAWSUIT

Veteran Lawyer Resources

If you or a loved one is a veteran and have suffered injuries or negligence at a VA hospital, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a Veteran negligence class action or lawsuit. Please send your [Veteran Negligence] complaint to a lawyer for a free case evaluation.

READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I was supposed to have my c5 and c6 fuzed 25 of April while a orthopedic surgeon started the procedure he severed my right vertebral artery after that the neurosurgeon took over they tried to fix it for over 3 hours but could not. So the coiled it and waxed it. I was not told a orthopedic surgeon was goona be messing with my surgery. I almost died. They never contacted family for 6 hrs after this happened they never fixed my back that I've been waiting 7 years. This is a VA in Mn I need help. Than they had to enlarge my incision on the front of my neck almost 4". Big scar. I also did not get proper pain meds for over 24 hours after surgery I'm in major pain as I write this

Posted by

on
I am so sorry for your loss. This is just horrible. I am also a Veteran with many medical problems. Can I please get your email address as I have many, many questions as I have A LOT of the symptoms he had and am in the process of finding out A LOT more issues that may be of help to you also. So hopefully we can help each other. So sorry for your loss again. God Bless!

Posted by

on
My sister in law recently informed me of 1151 claim and felt that I should check into it. I will do my best to explain the situation. My husband died August 12, 2009. I sent a letter to the Va in September 2009 wanting to understand why my husband was on the type of medication he was, due to his severe mixed sleep apnea. The letter I received back stated that my husband’s death was due to cardiac arrhythmia and it did not have anything to do with his PTSD and that the sleep apnea was not service related. They are paying me his portion of disability due to being poor. From the day my husband died I have felt that my husband died due to the medication he was on. I did not have an autopsy done on my husband due to just the sheer trauma of finding my husband dead and trying to revive him. I couldn’t imagine having my husband cut up and once the coroner said there was no need for one, I went no further. My husband had been in the complete care of the VA for almost two years. My husband had been home for ten days from a two month inpatient care for his PTSD. His sister and I were very concerned when he came home due to he was so different. I noticed that he was isolating himself much more, his breathing sounded different, he couldn’t keep his thoughts, and he seemed to be always dizzy. We had him make an appointment at the local VA clinic for Monday evening August 10th. What he told me is that they changed his clonazepam to alprazolam, added olanzapine to his simvastin at night and did not change his fluoxetine. My husband told me that he was informed that not to take clonazepam and alprazolam the same day due to life threatening interaction. He was really scared about that. He told me that he would try and not take anything until his alprazolam came (he had a few left from a previous prescription). That was Monday and my husband died Wednesday. I had been gone for the day and came in to find my husband in his recliner TV on, our dog on his chest clawing him and my husband dead with his mouth open gasping as he always did in his sleep. I waited over a year for them to send me my husband’s records and spent many months unable to look at them because it seems every time I pick them up the sadness was too much for me to handle. I couldn’t really make a lot out of them and they seem to be just bits and pieces. I really couldn’t see anywhere that he had a heart problem. I know he had high triglycerides, but I also read that olanzapine could raise his triglycerides, so that couldn’t be too much of a problem. At one point it showed not tolerating a medication and other places NKDA showed. One place the cardiologist said do not put on benzo’s at this time and then he started taking them. He blacked out driving one time and they kept him on his medications to see if he would tolerate them better. I do know that my husband’s sleep apnea was extreme. After reading about the medications he was on at the time of his death I couldn’t believe what I read. The combination of olanzapine and fluoxetine, the clonazepam or alprazolam thru the day when he was likely to fall asleep without his Vpap. When I read the inserts after his death I couldn’t believe that they all could have serious side effects regarding respiratory and heart. I did talk with a lawyer about this and they told me just talking with me they heard nothing that would show negligence. It was only recently when I was trying to file away his papers that I saw a line in instructions to the facility doing his sleep study the words ”severe post traumatic sleep apnea”. At that point I wrote the VA to disagree with their decision on there not being a service connection to his death. Stating that line and adding a “service connected significant condition” requested re-evaluation. I found this and mailed a letter only two weeks before my year was up (a copy was sent to VFW also). I send this knowing nothing about 1151 claim and am looking for your opinion. I appreciate your time and hope my rambling makes some sense.
Kathleen Bailey

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