Veterans Malpractice Attorneys Helping Families in Montana and Wyoming
Our veterans deserve the very best care after having dedicated so much of their lives to our country. Unfortunately, VA doctors and medical personnel are just as likely to make mistakes as civilian healthcare professionals - some would argue that they are even more likely to make mistakes due to overwhelming caseloads and limited resources. For veterans who are under the care of the VA, suffering harm due to a medical mistake can be incredibly discouraging and leave you feeling hopeless.
While some mistakes are unavoidable, many are the result of medical malpractice. And while malpractice claims against the VA must follow a special process, VA hospitals and medical professionals are responsible for providing adequate care just like civilian healthcare providers. When they commit malpractice, a Montana or Wyoming VA hospital malpractice attorney can hold them accountable for the harm you have suffered.
Malpractice Claims Against the VA Are Unique
When pursuing a malpractice claim against a private healthcare provider, you would essentially submit your claim to their malpractice insurance carrier. If you are unable to reach an agreeable settlement with the insurance company, then you would eventually pursue litigation in state court. If the lawsuit isn’t settled, the case would eventually go to trial and you would be awarded a specific amount of compensation for your injuries.
When you pursue a claim against the VA, you are essentially pursuing a claim against the federal government. As a result, all medical malpractice claims involving the VA are subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act. This is a federal law that basically provides a limited waiver of sovereign immunity in cases where people have been injured as a result of the negligence of government employees.
Unlike a private healthcare provider, the VA does not have a malpractice insurance carrier. Instead, you must start the claim process by filing Standard Form 95 with the VA. You must file this form within two years of the date that you received the treatment that caused your injury. If you fail to file your claim within this time period, you will lose all of your rights to compensation.
In addition, you must exhaust your administrative remedies before you can file suit. This means that you cannot file your lawsuit until you follow the claim process with the VA.
The form is only two pages but requires a great deal of information. You will be required to state the amount of compensation you are seeking. It is important that the information you provide is accurate and as detailed as possible. Failing to include important details or making a mistake could jeopardize your claim. As a result, we recommend that you contact a Montana or Wyoming VA hospital malpractice attorney for assistance in completing the form and filing your claim.
What Happens After You File Your Claim
The VA will review your claim once it is filed. They may offer to settle your claim, much like an insurance company would. However, they may also simply deny your claim. You might also receive what is referred to as a “constructive denial” - you receive no response whatsoever from the VA within 6 months from the date you submitted your Standard Form 95.
Whether you receive a denial or a constructive denial, you have six months from the date of your denial to file a lawsuit or you will lose your rights to pursue compensation. If you have received a constructive denial, this means that you have 12 months from the date you submitted your claim. If you received an explicit denial, you may have less time than that.
Working with a Montana or Wyoming VA hospital malpractice attorney can help you decide what would be a fair amount for the harm you have suffered and help you negotiate a settlement if the VA is willing to pay at least some portion of your claim. If negotiations fail or your claim is rejected, they are then prepared to file your lawsuit within the statutory deadline.
Working with a Montana or Wyoming VA Hospital Malpractice Attorney Increases Your Chance of a Successful Claim
To be clear, you are not obligated to hire a veterans malpractice lawyer in order to pursue your claim. Many people choose to prepare and file their Standard Form 95 on their own. However, those who work with an attorney have a greater chance of having their claim approved. A Montana and Wyoming VA hospital malpractice attorney can help in the following ways:
- Avoid delays by completing your Standard Form 95 correctly and with all necessary supporting documentation
- Emphasize the important details of your case that will help your claim succeed
- Respond to requests for additional information
- Negotiate a settlement on your behalf
If you are unable to resolve your claim with the VA, your veterans malpractice attorney can then prepare and file your lawsuit in federal district court. As part of this process, they can engage whatever experts you may need to testify that you are the victim of malpractice, and gather whatever other evidence you may need.
Ultimately, the reality is that veterans who work with lawyers receive much more compensation than those who do not. Unfortunately, once you receive the payment, you waive all further rights to additional compensation. This can be problematic when you discover that you need additional medical treatment or that you will be unable to work for the foreseeable future.
Contact Ragain & Clark to Talk to a Wyoming and Montana VA Hospital Malpractice Attorney Today
At Ragain & Clark, we honor our veterans’ service to our country by providing them with aggressive legal representation dedicated to getting them the compensation they deserve. With decades of experience and a track record of success, we can help you when you need it most. If you are the victim of medical malpractice, call us today at 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) to schedule a free consultation or get in touch via our online contact form.