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Can You Sue the VA for Medical Malpractice?

Colburn Law

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) oversees several important benefits for military members, including education, disability, and health care. Veterans and their families often visit VA medical facilities to receive inpatient and outpatient care, including surgeries, physical therapy, and mental health treatment.

However, some veterans experience medical malpractice while under the care of a VA doctor, nurse, surgeon, or another employee. If you have been injured while under the care of the VA, you may be eligible for a lawsuit against the federal government. Contact our locally trusted medical malpractice lawyers today for a free case evaluation.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim Against the VA

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

All medical providers need to uphold a certain standard of care while treating patients in a formal capacity. If a healthcare professional breaches this duty of care and causes harm to a patient, he or she commits medical malpractice. That patient would then be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault provider.

Examples of medical malpractice include the following.

  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part
  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Using unsanitary equipment and tools
  • Ignoring or misinterpreting laboratory results
  • Discharging a patient prematurely
  • Failing to provide proper aftercare or follow up
  • Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a condition
  • Failing to take a relevant medical history from a patient

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim Against the VA

In Washington, victims of medical malpractice can pursue legal action against negligent healthcare providers. However, if the at-fault party is an employee of the VA, you cannot pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit in Washington civil court. Your claim instead will fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

If you were injured by a VA employee, you can pursue a claim against the at-fault provider under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). To be eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit under the FTCA, an employee of the VA must have acted negligently and caused you injury as a result of his or her actions.

To pursue legal action against the VA, you will first file an administrative FTCA claim within two years of the malpractice. Your application will then be reviewed by the VA Regional Counsel responsible for the area where your injury occurred. Your claim will need to clearly state your injury, the damages that you would like to recover, and the negligent act that you believe occurred.

If the VA denies this claim, you can then file an FTCA lawsuit. You must file your lawsuit within six months from the date of your administrative denial. If you do not file your lawsuit by this date, the federal court will likely dismiss your claim.

Speak to a Washington Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you plan on pursuing a claim against the VA, you will need the support of a Seattle medical malpractice lawyer. These claims can be highly complex and involve several important rules and procedures. An attorney with experience handling VA claims can guide you through each step of the process, avoiding errors that could otherwise delay your case.

Additionally, you cannot claim more compensation than what you ask for in an administrative claim. An attorney can evaluate your situation from the beginning and identify all possible avenues to compensation, maximizing your potential settlement. Your lawyer can also gather the evidence necessary to prove your right to recovery and file an appeal if necessary.

Additional Medical Malpractice Resources