The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for coordinating benefits and care for the country’s veterans. And for veterans – disabled and otherwise – one of the fundamental rights supported and funded by the VA is the right to quality medical care.
One would assume – and very much hope – that VA medical care would be excellent; the country’s veterans deserve the very best. Unfortunately, statistics show that the number of medical malpractice claims filed against the VA is actually on the rise.
Medical Malpractice Claims Surge
A 2013 article published in Military.com reveals that settlements and court judgments in medical malpractice claims against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, between the years of 2003 and 2013, cost taxpayers a whopping total of $845 million, and $98 million in the year 2011 alone. And a June 2016 article in DisabledVeterans.org reveals a similar trend – the article states that VA medical malpractice settlements have tripled since 2011. Again, the 2011 payout in medical malpractice claims against the VA was $98 million; in 2015, the number grew to an astounding $338 million.
Why the Number of Veterans’ Malpractice Claims Is Increasing
Are bad doctors the reason behind the surge in VA malpractice claims? Maybe – but bad doctors alone are not the whole problem. Rather, VA facilities are overrun, and there are too few doctors to treat too many patients. In fact, statistics show that the number of patients treated by the VA is increasing (as more patients seek VA care, more medical malpractice claims are filed). Over a 10-year period, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of VA patients. Simultaneously, there was also a 12 percent increase in the average number of annual medical malpractice payouts.
While more patients and fewer doctors may be the reason behind the high number of malpractice instances within the VA, overcrowding is not a valid excuse; veterans, and all other patients, deserve high quality medical care.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is more complex than is filing a lawsuit against a private doctor or hospital. However, it can be done, and should be done if medical malpractice has led to serious adverse health events. Filing a medical malpractice claim can help you to recover the money that you need to pay for your harm, as well as raise awareness about the increasing problem of VA malpractice.
If you are a veteran and believe that you are a victim of VA medical malpractice, the experienced Boston medical malpractice attorneys at Lovenberg & Associates, P.C. want to meet with you. Attorney Douglas Lovenberg will listen to your story, and guide you through everything you need to know about your rights and how to file a claim. To get started, schedule a free case consultation with our law firm by calling 617-973-9950 today.