Medical malpractice committed by doctors within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) System is a pressing issue, with the Government paying tens of millions of dollars in settlements and judgments following jury verdicts every year for cases filed against them. This isn’t the care our military veterans deserve.
Federal law requires that medical malpractice cases arising out of care rendered through the VA go through a different process than cases arising out of care rendered outside of the VA.
After having risked and sacrificed so much for all of us, once they have finished their service, veterans entrust their health—and indeed their lives—to the VA. When the VA breaks that trust, it leaves veterans and their families feeling hurt, frustrated, confused, and in search of answers and options. When our military heroes are seriously injured or killed due to medical malpractice, those responsible need to be held accountable.
Legal Courses of Action for Veterans Who Are Victims of Medical Malpractice
There is common misconception that veterans cannot sue for medical malpractice committed at the VA. When victims believe that they are unable to seek legal action, they don’t fight back, leaving them without compensation for their suffering and the VA unaccountable for the harm its doctors inflict. But veterans can in fact sue the VA for medical malpractice, pursuant to a federal law—the Federal Torts Claims Act. Berman & Simmons has the talent and experience to help you fight for your rights.
Devastating and Life-Changing Harms
When you trust your doctors, you expect them to do their best to make you well. Unfortunately, they don’t always live up to that standard. Some common types of medical malpractice claims the VA is facing include:
- Surgical error
- Complications from surgery, including infection
- Failure to diagnose serious and life-threatening conditions
- Failure to treat
The committed and compassionate attorneys at Berman & Simmons understand that the harm inflicted by negligent doctors often extends beyond physical harms. Veterans’ lives can be permanently changed for the worse in a variety of ways. Their professional endeavors, activities of daily living, and ability to engage their passions can all be harmed—along with their bodies. The law allows you to seek compensation for all of these harms, and Berman & Simmons knows how to help you do it.
No other firm in Maine can match our resources and expertise
Berman & Simmons is proud to help our veterans get the respect, support, and compensation they deserve. We understand the complex and counterintuitive procedures required for these claims and will advise you on which course of action is best for your case. This is why it is vital that you speak to an attorney before filing your claim.
The Lawyers Best Suited for Your Recovery
The attorneys of Berman & Simmons have immense respect for our veterans and gratitude for what they have risked and sacrificed for our country. We are dedicated to using our skills and resources to standing up for those who have always stood up for and served others.
We collaborate with the world’s leading and most highly credentialed medical experts to ensure both you and the courts understand your case to the fullest extent and that you get the maximum compensation possible. Our record of success in medical malpractice cases is second to none. With attorneys who combine their legal talent with extensive medical knowledge, Berman & Simmons has received over $1 billion for our clients, including several of the largest medical malpractice verdicts and settlements ever obtained in Maine.
We'll Take Care of the Heavy Lifting
A History of Success
Berman & Simmons has a long record of winning medical malpractice cases involving care at the VA. We recently helped a client reach a $2.75 million settlement after the VA failed to diagnose a bacterial infection in his spine, leaving him paralyzed. We worked with him to get him the compensation he was owed.
Helping You Navigate the VA Claims Process
At Berman & Simmons we want to make sure that you get the best legal services available for your claim against the VA. Our attorneys are committed to answering your questions and providing a free consultation as you consider whether and/or how to pursue a claim. We strongly encourage you to contact us prior to initiating the process and submitting your claim to ensure you have a correct and complete understanding of your options. Call (207)784-3576 to speak with someone on our team today.
Paralysis due to mismanagement of
Catastrophic injuries in a head-on car accident
Wrongful death case involving negligent
Plaintiff Rear Ended by
Delay in diagnosis and treatment of cancer
Significant Head Injury Car Accident
What is the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the VA?
Lawsuits against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are governed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). This law provides a set of limited exceptions to immunities otherwise granted to the federal government. Under the FTCA, a claim must be filed within two years of the date of injury. That means if you file a claim two years and one day after your injury, the statute of limitations will have run out, and your case will be barred (meaning that you are forever prevented from bringing the claim).
Locating and interpreting statutory exceptions and deadlines can be extremely stressful, especially when you’re injured. We recommend contacting a competent personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs. An experienced firm like ours will take the burden off your shoulders so you can focus on your recovery.
Am I eligible to file a lawsuit against the VA?
If you are a veteran, you are eligible to pursue a lawsuit against the VA for negligence, misdiagnosis, or malpractice. The FTCA enables you to seek money damages to recover for lost income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If you are the surviving family member of a deceased veteran, you can bring a legal claim for wrongful death.
How do I file a complaint against the VA?
To file a claim against the VA, you must first submit a claim directly via Standard Form 95 (SF-95). This allows the VA to settle your claim out of court. Once the VA receives the claim, you may not file a lawsuit unless the VA refuses to settle for a reasonable amount or ignores the report for more than six months.
SF-95 forms are incredibly complicated and best completed with an attorney’s assistance. Berman & Simmons takes no fee unless your case succeeds, and attorney assistance generally leads to higher monetary outcomes.
Can you sue the VA for medical malpractice?
Yes. You can sue the specific licensed medical provider, as well as their employer. Hospitals and medical facilities are expected to properly hire, train, and monitor their staff, which means multiple parties can be held liable.
To succeed in a malpractice claim, you need to show that a doctor/patient relationship was formed between you and the medical provider. This means the provider agreed either verbally or through their actions to provide formal medical advice or treatment to you (versus providing general advice). Once this relationship is established, your provider must conform their conduct to the standard of care set forth by the medical profession.
If your provider fails to abide by the standard of care and you suffer injury as a result, you can sue for malpractice. An example of malpractice includes failure to diagnose, which occurs when you present with typical symptoms of a medical condition that your provider fails to identify. Failure to diagnose can cause treatment delays, allowing your condition to worsen, or new conditions to develop.
What is the VA 1151 claim?
A VA 1151 claim is actionable in more limited circumstances than an FTCA claim. It is essentially a claim for disability compensation instead of money damages. The benefit of filing a VA 1151 claim is that it is less complicated than a lawsuit and tends to resolve more quickly. However, VA 1151 claims are limited to those involving a VA hospital, outpatient clinic, medical examination, or surgery.
Our firm has spent years serving veterans and can help you determine the most appropriate claim for your circumstances. We offer risk-free consultations via phone or in-person and take no fee unless your case succeeds. Don’t hesitate to contact us today.