What Veterans Need to Know About Military Medical Malpractice
medical malpractice lawsuit

What Veterans Need to Know About Military Medical Malpractice

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

Medical malpractice happens when decisions made by medical professionals in any area of healthcare are negligent, and you are harmed because of it. This can take many different forms due to the many different positions in the healthcare industry and the different services and products they provide. Some of the people most vulnerable to medical malpractice are our veterans.

How Does Military Medical Malpractice Occur?

Veterans use specific medical-service locations due to their military benefits. This can lead to them being forced to use substandard facilities to receive their military benefits, even for general health visits. It’s also not uncommon for substandard care to extend to their families as well, who often receive medical coverage from their military parent or spouse.

Who Assists Veterans in Receiving Healthcare?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is supposed to connect veterans to support and healthcare benefits, but the Department of Defense is the one that employs medical personnel to care for veterans at military hospitals. This includes:

  • Primary care providers
  • Medical specialists like cardiologists, neurologists, mental health providers, and more
  • Geriatric care
  • Medical equipment
  • Prosthetics
  • Prescriptions

Examples of Military Medical Malpractice

Military medical malpractice is similar to other cases of medical malpractice, only it happens to members of the military or members of their families while at military locations. Injuries that can potentially be from medical malpractice include:

  • Head injuries
  • Physical brain trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Birth injury
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Amputation
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Wrong prescription medication
  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Birth Injury
  • And more

If an instance of medical malpractice was conducted off of a military healthcare facility, and not paid for by the veteran’s military benefits, this would not be a case of military medical malpractice. The injury can be discovered and diagnosed in non-military medical facilities, but the injury must be sustained in one. If the person hurt is a family member who is covered by a veteran’s insurance, this would still be considered a case of military medical malpractice.

Can Veterans Sue the Military for Medical Malpractice?

The Feres Doctrine made it so active military members can’t file medical malpractice claims against the U.S. government. Even if they experience an injury during their service, they cannot file a medical malpractice suit. This extends to veterans in certain instances. If a veteran is still suffering from an injury they sustained during their service, they can’t seek damages. If the injury is made worse later in life, they can claim medical malpractice for what caused it to worsen.

How Do Veterans File a Lawsuit Against the Military?

Anyone who needs to file a lawsuit against the military would not do so the same way they would against a business or non-military citizen. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) has the Standard Form 95 that must be submitted within two years of the event that led to the claim. On the document or attached, you must supply several things:

  • Your signature, your authorized agent’s signature, or your legal representative’s signature
  • Information to enable an investigation
  • A specific amount of money that you’re seeking

Once a veteran has this information ready, they should then email it to [email protected], but we never recommend doing this before having it triple-checked by your attorney.

What is the Statute of Limitations on a Military Medical Malpractice Injury?

Across the country, there is a two-year statute of limitations under the FTCA. The statute begins once you or your injured family member knows that their injury exists and what caused it. For example, if you knew you were injured or were suffering from a condition, but didn’t know the cause, you can still file a lawsuit.

Where Are the Military Medical Facilities in the United States?

The state of Pennsylvania only has one Army medical facility: Dunham Army Health Clinic, Carlisle Barracks, PA. There are no Navy or Air Force hospital facilities in Pennsylvania. If you moved to Pennsylvania after potentially being injured at a medical facility in another state, you can still use a Pennsylvania attorney now that you live here.

What Should You Do if You’re a Veteran Suffering From an Injury Caused by Military Medical Negligence?

If you’ve discovered and/or are currently suffering an injury caused by the negligence of a military medical facility, you need to see a new medical professional immediately. Once your injury is in stable condition, take your new diagnosis to Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., and our injury attorneys.

After serving our country, you should be receiving the best care our country has to offer. When you haven’t received that, our attorneys can fight to make sure you’re at least properly compensated instead. Contact us today.