If you’ve suffered injury as a result of medical malpractice of a government doctor, from a military hospital or veteran affairs hospital, you may have a case against the government. Those who receive health care in a federally funded facility are protected from such injury and given the ability to sue under the Federal Torts Claims Act (or “FTCA”) (U28 U.S.C. sect. 2674). The FTCA provides that the government is liable for such personal injuries and medical malpractice as if they were private individuals in like circumstances. The FTCA, however, is far more complicated than filing suit against a private individual, and requires certain criteria to be met in order to file appropriately. Sovereign immunity, or the inability for private citizens to sue the government, can be temporarily waived by the FTCA, but must be based on the following factors surrounding the injury:
1. Your personal status at the time of injury:
Were you hurt at the VA? If you received the negligent medical treatment from a federal employee, and it is not “incident to your service” (such as your role as an active military member), or it is not an elective procedure.
2. The status of the negligent individual:
The individual performing the action must be a federal employee, acting under the scope of his employment, and cannot be an independent contractor or other individual working within the government facility.
3. The place where the negligent action occurred:
The injury or negligent action must have occurred at a domestic federal facility.
If your injury or the individual’s negligent action meets all three of the above criteria you may have a viable suit against the federal government. Filing a claim against the government can be administratively difficult and require you to meet certain time deadlines and filing requirements in order to proceed with your case. Contacting a FTCA attorney that specializes in cases against government doctors will ensure that your claim is filed appropriately and provide you the greatest chance of recovering your damages.
If you would like additional information about the Federal Tort Claims Act, I found this website to be helpful. Feel free to call me at 800-817-0602.