Court Discusses Procedural Requirements for Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act

Seeking damages for harm caused by negligent medical care is typically a complicated process that few people possess the skills to navigate without the assistance of an attorney. For example, pro se parties that pursue medical malpractice claims without the benefit of legal counsel are often unaware of the procedural requirements imposed on plaintiffs under state or federal law, and if a plaintiff fails to comply with the requirements, it may result in a dismissal of his or her claims, regardless of whether they have merit. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a United States District dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a medical center owned by a government agency due to the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act. If you suffered harm due to inadequate care at a government facility, it is prudent to consult an attorney regarding what actions you must take to recover damages.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent treatment at the defendant medical center, which was owned by a government agency. The plaintiff alleged the treatment caused him to suffer paralysis and other unspecified injuries. Thus, without the assistance of counsel, he filed a lawsuit against the defendant in the federal district court, seeking damages for medical negligence and an injunction asking the defendant to take responsibility for his medical care and transportation until the case was resolved. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the action. Following a review of the plaintiff’s complaint, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Pursuing Claims for Medical Malpractice under the Federal Tort Claims Act

First, the court noted that the plaintiff’s claim for injunctive relief seemed to request veterans’ benefits. The court noted that decisions pertaining to veterans’ benefits were solely the province of the Court of Veterans Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. As such, the court found that it lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief.

Further, the court stated that although the plaintiff’s claim’s for injunctive relief did not bar the court from exercising jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s medical negligence claims, the court must nonetheless decline to exercise jurisdiction over the claims. Specifically, the court stated that the Plaintiff had the right to pursue claims against the defendant pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, but prior to pursuing claims for damages in a civil lawsuit, a plaintiff must first present the claim to the appropriate Federal agency, and must either obtain a written denial or allow six months to pass without receiving a final disposition. As the plaintiff did not pursue his administrative remedies prior to filing the lawsuit, the court dismissed his case.

Speak with a Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you were injured by medical negligence in a medical center owned by a government agency, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what measures you can take to protect your interests. The dedicated attorneys of Arfaa Law Group take pride in helping people harmed by incompetent medical care in the pursuit of damages, and we will zealously advocate on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to schedule a confidential and free consultation.

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