What is a federal tort claim? How does it relate to VA medical malpractice?

| Nov 30, 2017 | Federal Tort Claims

Lawsuits against the federal government are handled differently than civil personal injury claims. The process of suing the federal government is governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), which involves complex requirements that do not apply to other personal injury lawsuits.

A federal tort claim may be the appropriate course of action if you or a loved one was harmed due to any of the following:

Government-run medical facilities and federal tort claims

Injuries caused by government employees, including doctors and other medical providers, may be covered under the FTCA. Military medical malpractice takes many forms:

  • Surgical errors, including bariatric surgery errors
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to diagnose and delayed diagnosis
  • Birth injuries
  • Lack of informed consent, otherwise known as medical battery

Active military personnel, veterans and the families of military members and veterans may all bring medical negligence claims under the FTCA.

What are the general requirements for bringing a federal tort claim?

The first step is to file a notice of claim, which is called a Standard Form 95. This claim is filed against the negligent hospital or medical provider.

There is a statute of limitations for such claims, so the notice of claim must be filed within two years after discovering the negligence.

Once the claim is filed, the agency has six months to investigate and respond. The response may involve an administrative settlement offer. In other cases, the agency does not respond within the time frame, or the claim is denied.

If the agency doesn’t respond or if the claim is denied, you can bring a tort claim against the federal government.

For more on these requirements, please see our helpful overview. In general, a successful claim under the FTCA will require the help of an experienced FTCA lawyer.