If you leave the service with a disabling illness or injury, a VA disability claim provides you with monetary benefits that address your decreased earning potential. You can also avail yourself of VA hospitals and clinics, such as the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, and obtain treatment to help you manage your condition.
The VA’s facilities are generally staffed by nurses and doctors who care about their patients and who strive to provide the best quality of care they can for their patients. But these men and women are still human and prone to error. It is not unheard of for a veteran with a disabling condition to enter a VA facility for treatment only to walk out in worse shape than they entered.
Medical Malpractice and the VA
The VA’s medical staff is just as capable of committing medical malpractice as doctors and nurses in other settings. In fact, according to some estimates, about 1,500 claims of medical malpractice are filed each year against the VA. Although the facts of each of these claims differs from one another, they are all similar in that they allege they received substandard or deficient care from a VA facility or employee.
Unlike VA disability benefits, which require the submission of VA forms and are decided by the VA according to its own internal regulations, a medical malpractice claim against the VA has several notable differences:
- Your claim is filed pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA
- Once filed, your claim is investigated by the Office of General Counsel
- The Office of General Counsel (OGC) will then decide whether to attempt to settle your claim or whether to deny your claim
If your claim is denied by the Office of General Counsel, you could ask the OGC to reconsider its decision. If your claim is denied a second time, you can then file a medical malpractice claim against the U.S. government in your local U.S. district court.
For example, if you were hurt due to medical malpractice at the VA’s Cincinnati facility, then your claim would be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Your case would need to be filed in that court within six months of the denial of your reconsideration request.
Why It Pays to Have Legal Help with Your Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases are challenging enough to prove. When you add the extra procedural steps that the Federal Tort Claims Act requires, it can be intimidating to get justice for your injuries.
But you are not left on your own in seeking justice from the VA. If you were receiving treatment at a VA facility and believe careless treatment or deficient care caused you harm, you may have rights. Call (866) 894-9773 right away, and speak with Veterans Law Attorneys about what your next steps should be.
We represent veterans with malpractice claims against the VA and are committed to your recovery. Contact Veterans Law Attorneys today.