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The hospitals in VA health system are just as susceptible to the same type of medical malpractice claims as any other hospital. However, due to the fact that the VA system is both overburdened and underfunded, those hospitals may also face claims for injuries related to delays in treatment.
Regardless of whether the injury is the result of hospital negligence, medical malpractice, or just ordinary negligence, veterans can sue the VA in court. A recent medical malpractice settlement against a VA hospital neared seven figures. In that case, a veteran underwent an unneeded surgery that caused him further, and life changing, injuries.
First Steps in Suing a VA Hospital
While most states have strict requirements when it comes to suing doctors and hospitals, pursuing a claim against a VA hospital requires an additional step. Because VA hospitals are run by the federal government, in order to file a lawsuit against one of the hospitals, an individual must first file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
A federal tort claim is usually filed directly with the federal agency or entity that oversees the location of your injury. If the claim is rejected, or no response is provided within six months, then you can file a civil lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Requirements
Generally, medical malpractice claims are governed by state law. Most states require that a claimant notify the involved doctors and hospitals before filing a lawsuit. Claims against VA hospitals and other federally run hospitals can often be complex due to the fact that some doctors and employees, as independent contractors, may be individually liable under state laws, while the hospital and other employees are liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act. This requires a plaintiff to provide notice pursuant to state laws, as well as submit a FTCA complaint form.
When Should You Sue for Medical Malpractice?
Deciding to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice is a difficult decision. Medical injury cases can be rather complex and require a significant amount of money just to get started, let alone to take a case through trial. If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, seeking a consultation with an experienced injury or medical malpractice attorney can prove helpful.