How to file a VA Medical Center medical malpractice claim

When a veteran is seriously injured because of health care provided at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA Medical Center), different rules apply for making a medical malpractice claim. By different, I mean the rules aren’t the same as if the injury occurred at a non-federal government hospital.

As a U.S. Army veteran, former U.S. Army hospital administrator (the photo is of General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, as it looked when I served there), and son of a former VA Medical Center administrator, I’m familiar with the unique legal process that applies to VA medical negligence claims.

In general, it is not possible to make a claim against the federal government unless there’s a specific statute allowing. Fortunately for VA medical malpractice victims, the Federal Tort Claims Act allows such claims. The statute also sets out the procedure for handling tort claims against the United States—including employees of a VA Medical Center—involving personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of a government employee.

Like other types of negligence cases, there’s a strict deadline to file a claim. The proper federal agency must receive the claim within two years of the date of the alleged negligence.

Veterans are well-aware that the various service branches and VA have a special form for everything. Thus, it will probably come as no surprise that the process of making a medical malpractice claim against the VA must begin with filing an official complaint, called Standard Form 95.

There are two types of damages that can be obtained in a VA medical malpractice claim.

• Economic damages are the types of things that are easy to associate with a specific dollar amount. These include things such as past and future lost wages or income and past and future medical bills.

• Non-economic damages are the types of injuries that are not as easy to associate with a specific dollar amount. These injuries include elements of damages such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, and disfigurement.

Once the Standard Form 95 is filed, the VA has six months to dispose of the claim before a veteran can take the action to court. During the six-month period, the VA could ignore the claim, settle the claim, or offer an unacceptable amount of money.

While it’s possible for veterans to complete and submit a Standard Form 95 on their own, the paperwork requires tremendous attention to detail and substantiating evidence. Many veterans have benefited from hiring an experienced attorney for representation from the start.

When seeking legal representation for a medical malpractice claim against a VA Medical Center, it’s important to keep in mind that attorneys must be accredited by the VA to provide these legal services. You can verify VA attorney accreditation at this link.

If you’ve been seriously injured by medical malpractice at a VA Medical Center in Texas or elsewhere, then contact a top-rated, accredited VA medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm for a free consultation about your potential case.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.