Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital Medical Malpractice
In recent years, medical malpractice cases in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have spiked. The VA shelled out a staggering $338 million in 2015 alone to compensate medical malpractice victims, which is more than triple the amount paid in 2011 of $98 million.
Only recently has Congress moved in an effort to reform the VA, passing a bill making it easier to fire VA employees for failing to adequately perform their duties. Although this measure was intended to ensure greater accountability of the VA’s employees, there is no doubt that serious problems still exist in the VA today.
Why the Spike in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Particularly in the past decade, the VA has been plagued with corruption problems, malfeasance by its employees, scandals over its administrative practices, and infectious disease outbreaks and contamination of medical equipment in its many hospitals and medical facilities.
Despite the U.S. government pumping $16 billion into the Department with the Veterans Choice and Reform Act of 2014, the number of veterans coming in to VA hospitals has drastically increased while the number of new medical staff personnel has remained relatively stagnant. As you can imagine, this has increased wait times for many veterans seeking care, often resulting in further health complications from the delay in treatment.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Generally, a patient may obtain compensation for medical negligence if three elements are satisfied: (1) that the doctor owed the patient a duty of care; (2) the duty of care was breached; and (3) the patient sustained injury as a direct result of the breach.
In treating patients, a VA doctor or other care provider owes to you what is known as the “medical standard of care” – using a degree of care, skill, and knowledge of the average healthcare provider with a similar specialty practice. When doctors or other care providers fall short of this duty, they may be held liable to you for medical negligence.
Common Types of VA Medical Malpractice Cases
Our skilled and experienced attorneys handle all types of VA medical malpractice cases. Some examples include:
- Surgical errors
- Failure to diagnose/misdiagnosis/delay in diagnosis
- Drug/medication errors
- Mismanagement of chronic problems
- Unnecessary surgery
- Failure to properly monitor patients
The VA’s Response
When a medical malpractice SF-95 tort notice claim is filed, the VA has 6 months to review and investigate the claim. From there, it has three options: either (1) accept the claim and compensate the claimant in full; (2) settle the claim for less than what is sought; or (3) reject the claim outright. If the VA rejects your claim, or 6 months lapses with no response, you may file a lawsuit in federal court under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), which may entitle you to recover against the U.S. government for injury caused by the negligence of a VA employee.
How We Can Help You
At Snyder Sarno D'Aniello Maceri & da Costa LLC, your medical malpractice attorneys, Paul M. da Costa and his team, have significant experience in successfully representing veterans who have been the victims of substandard health care in VA hospitals and medical facilities. For example, Paul M. da Costa obtained a $1 million settlement in October 2017 in a wrongful death case on behalf of an Army veteran.
Whether you believe you have a strong claim, or are simply unsure, contact us today to learn how you can obtain compensation for your injury. Our attorneys have access to investigative experts to help determine exactly what caused your injury so that we can most effectively represent your case.
Reach Out Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured by improper or inadequate treatment at a VA hospital or medical facility, you may be eligible for compensation. Filing a claim against the government by yourself is extremely difficult. Paul M. da Costa will put your interests first in helping you navigate the complexities of a VA medical malpractice claim. Contact us today at 973-274-5200 to set up a free consultation.
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