Being injured is always difficult and stressful, and seeking treatment can be complicated, especially if medical malpractice or negligence occurs. These troubles can be magnified if you or your spouse serve in the military as the system within which you are seeking or have sought medical treatment is a little different from the system used by non-serving individuals.
When someone serves in the military, they and their dependents are entitled to access exceptional medical care, whether the individual serving is non-active or serving in the United States or abroad. The same applies to retired service members. They are entitled to excellent medical care at the Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals and other facilities.
Sadly, this is not always what happens. Sometimes, medical negligence or malpractice can lead to harm and suffering, whether you or close members of your family are the victims. If your dependent or you as a military service member, even when not on active duty, were injured while in military medical unit care, you can claim financial compensation.
When to file a claim
The members of your family and military members not on active duty have the same right as other citizens to hold negligent parties responsible for medical malpractice. However, if you are an active-duty military member, you do not have the right to file a negligence lawsuit against the government as per the Feres Doctrine. The only case when a soldier on active duty can be involved in a lawsuit against the government is if their close family member was a victim of medical negligence.
This being said, the process by which you seek financial compensation is different than that of non-service families. The Federal Tort Claims Act regulates medical malpractice cases involving the government. This Act applies if you are, for example, considering your legal options in a situation when you or your close family member experienced medical negligence.
How to know if there was negligence
Sometimes people are unsure of whether their particular experience involves medical negligence. According to the legal experts from https://www.blg-dc.com/military-medical-malpractice/, medical malpractice can include but is not limited to, inadequate diagnosis, negligent care, medication errors, surgical errors, and more. Typically, you can file a claim for negligence within two years from when the negligence happened.
If you are unsure about your situation, it is best to seek counsel from an experienced professional. Often, the first consultation with an attorney is free, at which point you will have the opportunity to describe the specifics of your case. Then, the legal advisor will be able to tell you what your next steps should be.
How the claim process looks
If you decide to move forward and file a claim, you will be required to fill out a Standard Form 95, where you will fill out the information regarding the case, including the grounds of your claim, the other parties involved, and the ways in which you’ve experienced harm. This can include pain, suffering, medical expenses, and any wages you might have lost due to negligence.
Any compensation you might receive is limited to the amount that you initially claim on this form. This is another reason why you should seek the guidance of an attorney before you file as an experienced professional can help you define the degree of your damages. Also, having a legal counselor at your side will help define the amount of compensation you should be getting.
Types of compensation
You are entitled to several different types of compensation. Here are the three main areas:
The general damages are compensation for pain, suffering, mental stress, and decreased quality of life.
Economic damages can include everything related to hospital or insurance bills, as well as any earnings you might have lost.
In case the negligence resulted in injuries so damaging that your future income comes into question, you can claim compensation for future damages, including the cost of any medical care that will be needed in the future.
After the file has been submitted, the medical facility where the malpractice occurred will take up to six months to read and review your claim. There are three possible outcomes. They might pay the claim in full, they may attempt to go for a lower amount, or they may reject your claim.
As you can see from this article, the area of medical malpractice for military members and their families is a complicated one. If your claim is unsuccessful, you can file your lawsuit in federal court within six months. The Federal Tort Claims Act excluded the right of a jury trial, which means that a judge alone will decide if the medical facility or professional was responsible for the harm you experienced and to any possible compensation you might receive as a result.