Medical Malpractice in VA Hospitals Most Often Systemic Rather than Ground Level Patient Care
Medical malpractice can occur in any medical setting including the VA. Studies have shown that the rate of medical malpractice in VA facilities is actually less than in private medical care. This is remarkable in light of all the news that has come up over the last few years regarding what appears to be systemic negligence in VA Healthcare.
This is not to suggest that VA medical providers do not commit malpractice. It does happen. However, what the recent stories suggests in light of the lower than normal rates of medical malpractice among VA medical providers is that the negligence is systemic beginning at the top administrative levels and filtering down through administrative personnel. This is reflected in the news regarding falsified wait times, very long wait times, falsified medical records and so on. These intentional acts are way beyond negligent potentially causing innocent veterans and families catastrophic harm or death.
Veterans and Their Families Often Not Aware of Their Rights or the Rules Regarding VA Medical Malpractice Claims
There are many misconceptions surrounding VA medical malpractice claims. Many veterans and families are not aware of their rights. In fact, many believe they have no rights based upon a misunderstanding of the Feres Doctrine which prohibits active military from filing medical malpractice claims against military and VA medical providers. Others believe their rights are limited by VA disability benefits laws. Still others are simply overwhelmed by the thought of pursuing a medical malpractice claim against the huge bureaucracy that is the VA.
The fact is that veterans and families do have rights to fair and full compensation when they are harmed by medical malpractice at the hands of the VA. Having said that, there are many rules that apply.
Laws, Rules and Deadlines on VA Medical Malpractice Claims
Veterans and families have rights. These rights must be pursued diligently with the many rules and deadlines associated with these claims.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the 2 year statute of limitations on claims against the Federal Government. Second is to understand the exceptions to the deadline under the discovery rule and the rule regarding fraud and concealment which can extend the deadline. Finally, it must be understood that these claims are governed by both federal and state law which can add some manageable complexity.
The rules and deadlines are addressed in the pages that follow. They are also addressed in a more concise form in pdf or kindle format which you can find here:
Also available in Kindle Format
Seek Legal Guidance in Case of Serious Injury or Death
The bottom line is if a veteran or a veteran family member suffers serious harm or death under VA medical care, the veteran and family need to understand their rights and how to protect and enforce those rights. The best way to do this is through the guidance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
The Albuquerque law firm of Collins & Collins, P.C. can be reached at (505) 242-5958.