The Veterans Health Administration is the component of the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) that, among other things, implements medical assistance programs for veterans. People who are eligible for VA health care benefit programs must have served in the active military, naval, or air service and left the service under any condition other than dishonorable. If you or someone close to you has been harmed due to the negligence of a VA doctor, you need to speak to a seasoned Baltimore hospital negligence attorney who can evaluate the facts of your case.
Unfortunately, medical malpractice at VA hospitals is more common than you may think. The VA pays out an average of $100 million each year to settle more than 3,000 medical malpractice lawsuits. According to a recent USA Today investigation, the Department of Veteran Affairs has knowingly hired doctors who had a history of misconduct allegations, licensing problems, malpractice accusations, and patient settlements.
Medical malpractice claims can have many causes, including:
- Failure to diagnose;
- Surgical errors;
- Medication errors;
- Anesthesia errors;
- Dental errors;
- Failure to treat a condition properly; or
- Lack of adequate patient monitoring.
There are only two paths for Maryland veterans who are injured by the VA health care system: i) they can file a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claim with the VA’s Region 3 legal counsel in Baltimore; or ii) they can also file a Section 1151 Claim with the VA’s District 3 Regional Office. It is important to note that a Section 1151 Claim is an administrative action that is handled directly by the VA, whereas the FTCA claim could result in a malpractice lawsuit.
FTCA claims must be filed within two years of when the injury or harm was discovered. Once all of the relevant paperwork is submitted, the claimant must wait six months for the government to send a formal response. The department may then either accept the claim and pay it in full, settle the claim for less, or reject the claim outright. If the VA rejects your claim, you may file a federal lawsuit. You should be aware that if the department does not take any action within six months, it is considered a rejection of the claim.
In many cases, an injured veteran’s only option is to sue under the FTCA. The act allows a civilian to claim compensation from the U.S. government when harm is caused by the negligence of an employee or agency, including the VA. VA medical malpractice falls under negligence law. Medical malpractice takes place when a health care provider causes an injury or death by failing to use the level of care that a reasonably prudent health care provider would have used under the same or similar circumstances. Medical malpractice can also arise through omissions, when a medical professional fails to act when he or she had a duty to do so.
If you have been a victim of medical malpractice due to the negligent actions of a VA doctor, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore hospital negligence attorneys understand the nuances of this area of law and can apply our knowledge to use in your case. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.
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