VA Malpractice: What is Section 1151, and Are You Eligible?

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Veterans who suffered an injury or illness because of medical care they received at a VA facility are entitled to compensation. VA malpractice lawyers base these claims on how the injury or disability affects your ability to earn a living and are available to veterans who were injured during treatment at a VA inpatient or outpatient clinic or hospital.

However, proving a claim for benefits because of an injury suffered while receiving treatment at a VA facility is often very difficult to prove. Working with the experienced veterans’ medical malpractice attorneys at Robenalt Law will give you a better chance of success.

Disability Benefits as If the Injury Was Service-Connected

In most cases, veterans can only receive benefits for a service-connected disability. However, under 38 U.S.C. §1151, a veteran can receive compensation for an injury that occurred during their care and treatment at a VA hospital clinic as if it were a service-connected injury.

Because these claims arise under 38 U.S.C. §1151, they are commonly referred to as Section 1151 Claims.

Benefits under Section 1151 are available if a veteran was injured or died as a result of VA health care, VA vocational rehabilitation, or a veteran’s participation in a VA compensated work therapy program. VA malpractice lawyers will be able to help you determine if your case qualifies as a VA malpractice case.

Qualifying for Benefits Under Section 1151

There are two ways an injured veteran can qualify for benefits under Section 1151.

The first is if the condition “was caused by hospital care, medical or surgical treatment, or examination furnished the veteran under any law administered by” the VA. In this case, the veteran’s injury must have been the result of the “carelessness, negligence, lack of proper skill, error in judgment, or similar instance of fault on the part of the [VA] in furnishing the hospital care, medical or surgical treatment, or examination” or from “an event not reasonably foreseeable.”

The second way a veteran can qualify for benefits under Section 1151 is if the qualifying condition was caused by the veteran’s participation in a Chapter 31 rehabilitation program or in a Section 1718 compensated work therapy program. These claims do not require that the veteran prove the VA was negligent.

If the claim is resolved in favor of the veteran, the injury is treated as if it were a service-connected disability. The disability will be rated according to the VA rating schedule, and the veteran will receive monthly disability compensation. If the incident involved the death of the veteran, the veteran’s spouse or dependents receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) as a monthly benefit.

Proving a Section 1151 Claim

In many ways, qualifying for benefits under Section 1151 is similar to applying for service-connected benefits. The veteran must submit a claim for disability compensation and specify that they are making a claim under Section 1151. The veteran will need to prove:

  1. They have a currently diagnosed medical disability
  2. An injury occurred while they were receiving care or treatment from a VA hospital, medical, or surgical facility
  3. The injury was the result of the negligence, carelessness, improper skill, error in judgment, or similar fault of the VA.

If the veteran died as a result of an injury that qualifies for compensation under Section 1151, the veteran’s surviving spouse or dependents are entitled to the veteran’s disability benefits under Section 1151.

However, while proving a claim under Section 1151 may seem straightforward, it is actually more similar to filing a claim for medical malpractice. As such, successfully proving an 1151 claim is incredibly difficult and should not be attempted without the assistance of qualified and experienced VA malpractice lawyers.

Robenalt Law Fights for Veterans Injured During VA Medical Treatment

If you were injured or someone you love died as a result of care or treatment received at a VA facility or because of their participation in a VA work compensation program, you may be entitled to compensation under Section 1151.

The experienced VA malpractice lawyers at Robenalt Law have extensive experience reviewing and litigating medical malpractice claims. We have the experience, resources, and expertise to evaluate your claim and bring it to a successful resolution.

We know that seeking compensation from the government can be difficult, and that many veterans are denied the benefits they were promised. That’s why we fight to help disabled veterans obtain the compensation they deserve.

Learn more about how we help veterans who were injured by the VA during medical treatment and why clients choose us, then contact Robenalt Law today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing doctors and hospitals at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent health care providers.

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