Military Surgical Errors

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Military Surgical Errors

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Non-active duty military, family members and retirees are sometimes involved in medical accidents such as military surgical errors. Seeking compensation for this type of personal injury or wrongful death can be very tricky. Before Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act, American citizens did not have the right to sue the federal government. The FTCA provided a limited waiver of sovereign immunity and permitted private parties to sue the United States in federal court for torts committed by individuals acting on behalf of the government.

Two years after the FTCA was passed, the U.S. Supreme Court combined three pending cases and ruled that the government could not be held liable (Feres Doctrine) for injuries sustained by active-duty service members. The only exceptions to the doctrine have occurred when the court found that civilians could have been harmed in the same manner under the same circumstances in which a service member was injured. In addition, compensation can be sought in cases involving military surgical errors when the provider is an independent contractor or an injury was caused by a failed medical product manufactured by a third party.

Will Filing a Medical Negligence Claim Impact My VA Benefits?

This is a complex area of the law and the answer depends upon the unique circumstances of each case. You should consult an attorney experienced in military malpractice law to help you determine how conflicts for recovery may impact compensation from the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Basically, the VA evaluates service-related injuries, such as those caused by military surgical errors, and determines compensation based on the degree of disability, loss of income, etc. In the case of a service-connected death of a veteran, the VA's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) pays monthly benefits to a surviving spouse, child or parent. By law, payment of VA compensation and military disability severance for the same medical condition or disability is prohibited. Typically, VA benefits are suspended while other compensations are being made. However, this is a very unique area of military law and multiple benefit programs can allow for concurrent payments. To protect your opportunity for recovery, it is important to seek the timely advice of a qualified military accident attorney who can review the specifics of your personal injury or wrongful death claim.