Many U.S. veterans seek their healthcare through medical centers that are run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Despite the fact that these are government-managed clinics that are staffed by government employees, the care is often less than adequate to the point of negligence. When negligence results in veteran harm, the patient may have the right to file a medical malpractice claim for damages under the Federal Tort Claim Act. Contact Lovenberg & Associates, P.C. to learn more about your rights as a veteran who’s been harmed by a healthcare provider.


Types of Medical Malpractice in VA Medical Clinics


Veterans may become the victims of medical malpractice in VA clinics when a healthcare provider’s negligent actions lead to patient harm. Examples of medical malpractice in VA medical clinics in Boston include:


  •      Failure to diagnose a disease/condition
  •      Failure to properly treat a disease/condition
  •      Misdiagnosis
  •      Surgical errors
  •      Medication errors
  •      Anesthesia errors
  •      Patient monitoring errors


If one of the actions of negligence listed above (or another negligent action) is the direct cause of patient harm, then the patient may be able to file a claim for damages regardless of the fact that the healthcare provider is a government employee.


Medical Malpractice and the Federal Tort Claim Act


Most governments, and therefore government employees, are protected from liability in a lawsuit under a doctrine known as sovereign immunity, which simply means that a person can’t sue the government. However, certain states have waived their rights to sovereign immunity in specific circumstances, and the Federal Tort Claim Act allows citizens to sue the federal government for certain negligent actions. As such, a veteran may file a lawsuit against a federal employee, such as a VA doctor in the event that negligence has occurred.


Laws for Filing a Claim Under the Federal Tort Claim Act


Rather than filing your claim against a VA doctor directly in civil court, you will have to file your claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This is known as filing an administrative claim. The claim must include very specific details about the negligent activity, when it occurred, and damages that you sustained as result. According to the Federal Tort Claim Act, all claims for damages must be filed within two years after the harm caused by the negligent action occurred.


After you have filed your administrative claim with the VA, the department will have six months to respond. If the administrative rules on your claim, then they will typically pay you damages up front, avoiding the court process. If they reject the claim, then you then have the option of filing a lawsuit within six months’ time.


Do I need a medical malpractice and Federal Tort Claim Act lawyer?


Filing a lawsuit against a government employee or entity is much different that filing a lawsuit against a regular civilian or private business. Under the Federal Tort Claim Act, there are a number of requirements that must be satisfied in order for a lawsuit to move forward. If you’ve a veteran who has been harmed by a VA doctor or other healthcare professional, don’t let the complicated legal process deter you from taking action – at Lovenberg & Associates, P.C., we can handle all the nitty-gritty legal details for you. To meet with us for free today, call 617-973-9950.