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As a veteran-owned personal injury law firm, we know firsthand the sacrifices and dedication required when you volunteer in the Armed Forces to serve your country. As an active-duty service member, you should be able to count on nothing less than exceptional medical care.
But what if the medical treatment provided by the United States military fails to meet those standards or, even worse, results in injury or harm? You might be wondering, “can you sue the military for medical malpractice?” While you can’t “sue” a military doctor or hospital for medical malpractice if you’re an active-duty service member – you can get compensation via important changes in the law.
In this blog, a military medical malpractice lawyer answers, “How an active-duty service member can pursue an administrative claim for medical malpractice,” and explains what else you need to know about filing a claims
At The Doctor Lawyer Team, we combine legal and medical expertise to help you obtain maximum compensation in your medical malpractice case against the military. Call us at (833) DLT-WINS or (833) 358-9467 to schedule your FREE case evaluation. We represent military families and service members nationally.
Before answering the question of whether you can file a medical claim for military medical malpractice, it’s helpful to go over what military medical malpractice is and how a recent federal law impacts the answer.
Military medical malpractice occurs when a military or federal healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse working within military medical facilities, fails to provide the standard of care that a reasonably competent professional would have provided in a similar situation, resulting in harm or injury to military personnel, veterans, or their dependents.
You can read about medical malpractice in more detail here. If you are specifically dealing with a birth injury caused by medical malpractice, this blog provides helpful information.
The Feres Doctrine is a legal precedent established by the 1950 Supreme Court case Feres v. United States, which prevents active-duty military personnel from suing the federal government for injuries that are "incident to service." This includes medical malpractice cases.
The Feres Doctrine was created to protect the government from liability for actions taken during military operations. It was based on the idea that military service members should not be able to sue the government for injuries sustained during service since they have access to comprehensive compensation and medical care through the military's own benefits system.
In December 2019, the National Defense Authorization Act was passed and included a provision known as the Richard Stayskal Medical Accountability Act. This provision provides a significant change regarding medical malpractice claims for active-duty military personnel.
The Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act named after Richard Stayskal, a Purple Heart Army Green Beret, who suffered due to medical malpractice, amends the Feres Doctrine by creating an administrative procedure for active-duty service members to file a claim requesting compensation from the Secretary of Defense for medical malpractice that occurs at military medical facilities.
However, it is important to note that this provision still does not allow active-duty service members to “sue” the federal government in federal court directly and does not apply to care provided at a medical treatment location deployed in an area of armed combat.
To file a claim under the MMAA, the following conditions must be met:
Before starting the claims process, we highly recommend you consult with an attorney experienced in MMAA cases to help you navigate the complex legal process, gather evidence, and advocate on your behalf. It’s important that your claim not only be accurate and submitted to the right agency but also includes all relevant information and documentation.
To file an administrative claim under the MMAA:
A veteran military medical malpractice lawyer can provide valuable assistance by:
By enlisting the help of a military medical malpractice lawyer, active-duty service members can navigate the complex legal process of filing an administrative claim under the MMAA and maximize their chances of receiving fair compensation for their injuries. See our short video discussing whether you can or should represent yourself when filing an FTCA claim, which is equally applicable here.
However, as we discussed, if an active-duty service member’s administrative claim is denied, they are not allowed to sue the federal government. But what about veterans and qualifying dependents? In the next blog, we’ll answer the question, “Who Can Sue a Military/VA Doctor or Military/VA Hospital for Medical Malpractice?”
|1950: The Feres Doctrine is established by the Supreme Court case Feres v. United States, which prohibits active-duty service members from suing the government for injuries sustained in the course of their service, including medical malpractice.|
|December 20, 2019: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 is signed into law. This legislation includes a provision called the SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act.|
|SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act: This provision allows active-duty service members to file medical malpractice claims against the Department of Defense for incidents occurring at military facilities. This change does not overturn the Feres Doctrine but creates an exception for military medical malpractice claims.|
At The Doctor Lawyer Team, we are a veteran-owned personal injury law firm with over 40 years of trial experience and a proven track record of success. As veterans, we know firsthand the challenges you’ll face filing an administrative claim with the Department of Defense under the MMAA.
Attorney Paul McConnell is a former Marine Corps infantry officer, federal prosecutor, and trial judge. Dr. Michael Giordano is a board-certified neurosurgeon and an attorney with an active background in reviewing personal injury and medical malpractice cases for over 18 years, including several years at one of Connecticut’s most respected personal injury and medical malpractice firms.
Contact The Doctor Lawyer Team today to schedule your FREE case evaluation by calling our military personal injury lawyers at (833) DLT-WINS or (833) 358-9467. We have offices in Hartford, New Haven, Groton, Bridgeport, New Canaan, and Greenwich. We also represent military service members nationally.
If more convenient, you can also complete our online form here.
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