One way that America honors our veterans is to give them health care through Veterans Affairs medical facilities. VA Medical Centers provide a wide range of medical treatments and services, including surgery, physical therapy, and critical care – and many veterans take advantage of these health care services.
Unfortunately, VA hospitals are no different than other medical facilities – sometimes terrible negligence can occur from doctors’ errors. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed because of a medical error at one of the VA hospitals or clinics in Iowa, there are a few things you need to know.
How to Sue the Federal Government for Medical Malpractice
Most of the time, the federal government cannot be sued. However, due to a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), medical malpractice cases can be brought against VA hospitals and clinics. The FTCA gives uniform guidelines for handling claims against the United States. It says that a claim can be filed against the United States if a wrongful or negligent act was performed by a government employee while they were acting “within the scope of his or her employment.”
This means if a VA-employed doctor hurt you or a loved one at their place of employment, you are allowed to sue the government clinic where they are employed.
While you are allowed to sue, the way you have to do so is a little different than a regular Iowa medical malpractice claim. You need to file a complaint with the VA first. This complaint is known as Standard Form 95 and requires specific details about the alleged malpractice.
The VA has six months to review the claim and decide whether to settle your case. If they decide not to settle your case, ignore your filing, or you believe the amount of compensation they’re offering to settle is not fair, then you can file your claim in federal district court.
Damages You Could Receive After Settling Your Claim Against a VA Hospital
There are a variety of damages you or your loved one may be entitled to if your lawsuit is successful. Those damages could include:
- Economic damages – these include medical bills, lost wages, and other losses that you can show through bills
- Non-economic damages – these include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other quality of life damages that are not as easy to quantify
- Future damages – these include loss of future earnings if you are not able to do the job you did before your injury, future medical bills, and other possible issues that may arise in the future due to your injury.
The Statute of Limitations on VA Medical Malpractice Claims
There is a limited amount of time that you can bring a medical malpractice claim against the VA. This is known as the statute of limitations. The federal statute of limitations for claims under the FTCA is two years from the date that the injury took place.
This is not a lot of time for an experienced Iowa medical malpractice attorney to review your claim and determine if a lawsuit can be brought. That is why it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after you have been injured at the VA.
If you have suffered serious injury or a loved one has been killed because of a VA employee’s negligence, contact RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.