Our military veterans deserve our respect and gratitude for their service. They also deserve to receive competent medical treatment for ailments and injuries they suffer after their service. Unfortunately, in our opinion, hospitals and treatment centers run by the Department of Veterans Affairs — or VA — are overwhelmed and understaffed. As a result, many veterans seeking medical treatment are mistreated or misdiagnosed and end up suffering additional injuries.
Veterans who suffer injuries from medical malpractice during treatment at VA facilities deserve to be fully compensated. At Robenalt Law, we help veterans who are injured by the negligence of doctors and others at the VA responsible for providing treatment, as well as families of veterans who have died as the result of VA negligence during medical treatment.
Available Remedies for Injuries Caused By VA Medical Treatment
Depending on the circumstances, there may be two legal remedies available if you are a veteran injured by a VA doctor or other VA employee during medical treatment.
The first option is filing a claim with the VA for disability compensation. These claims are commonly referred to as “Section 1151” claims, because Section 1151 of the federal Veterans’ Benefits statute that provides for the compensation. Section 1151 compensation is based on how the injury (disability) affects your ability to earn a living. For injuries related to medical treatment, Section 1151 compensation is only available if the injury occurs at a VA inpatient or outpatient clinic or hospital.
More importantly, if you are injured by the negligence of any VA employee or agent, you can seek money damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA covers many more negligent acts than Section 1151 benefits do, since the injuries do not need to occur at a VA facility. The only requirement is that a VA employee or agent was responsible and acted negligently.
Filing a Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice against the VA under the FTCA
There is a time limit, called a statute of limitations, for filing a claim under the FTCA for medical malpractice. It is two years from the time the claim accrues. Most often, the claim accrues when the injury is inflicted. Occasionally, the injury does not become apparent until a later time, which may change when the claim accrues for purposes of the FTCA.
FTCA damages are based on the economic loss and suffering caused by the injury, so the compensation is broader than that provided under Section 1151. In an FTCA lawsuit, damages can be claimed for:
- costs of medical treatment necessitated by the injury
- lost wages
- pain and suffering
- emotional distress
- predictable future damages, such as impaired earning ability
The FTCA process is very specific. FTCA lawsuits, like all medical malpractice actions, can be difficult to win. If you have been injured by the VA during medical treatment, you should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you realize that medical malpractice may have occurred. Tom Robenalt knows how to help veterans recover for VA-caused medical injuries, and your initial consultation with him is free-of-charge.
There may be cases when it is not entirely clear whether the persons responsible for the negligence are VA employees or contractors, who may not be subject to an action under the FTCA. In those circumstances, you may be able to sue the contractors directly in a medical malpractice action. Personal injury attorney Tom Robenalt has successfully represented clients in medical malpractice cases for many years. It is always best to speak with an attorney when the injury occurs - so act now.
Have an Experienced Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorney Fight for You
Suing the government can be intimidating for a veteran who has been injured by the VA. If you have been injured by the VA during medical treatment — or if your loved one died during VA medical treatment — talk with Attorney Tom Robenalt about your case for free.
Whether your case involves the VA and a lawsuit under the FTCA or a contractor who can be sued directly, Robenalt Law will fight for you. We will put our years of medical malpractice experience to work in your favor and make sure that you get the damages you deserve.
We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means that there are NO fees unless we win.
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We represent clients in Cleveland, throughout Ohio, and elsewhere.