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Can Service Members Sue the U.S. Military for Medical Malpractice?

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

Schaumburg Military Medical Malpractice LawyerFor the past several decades, members of the military who are on active duty have been unable to pursue personal injury lawsuits against the U.S. government based on injuries or other forms of harm they suffered during their service. However, this changed in 2019 when Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which contained provisions allowing service members to file claims seeking compensation for medical malpractice. In June of 2021, the Department of Defense issued new regulations detailing the procedures that will be followed in these types of claims.

Pursuing Compensation for Medical Malpractice at a Military Hospital

Active-duty service members can pursue medical malpractice claims for most injuries or illnesses that occurred because of treatment at a medical facility from a health care provider working for the Department of Defense, as long as the injury was “incident to service.” This includes treatment provided at hospitals or medical centers, but not treatment provided in the field, such as on a ship or plane or at a battalion aid station. 

When making a claim, a person will need to show that a military health care provider failed to exercise the proper standard of care that would be provided by a person in the same field and in a similar setting. This failure to follow the correct standard of care must have caused the patient to suffer harm. Claims must generally be filed within two years after medical malpractice occurred.

A service member may recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include past and future medical expenses, lost income, reduced income-earning capacity, and payments made to another person for household services or assistance with daily activities. Non-economic damages include past and future pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. The amount of non-economic damages a person can receive is capped at $500,000. If a person received other benefits for a malpractice-related injury, such as VA disability benefits, the amount of these benefits may be subtracted from the damages awarded in a medical malpractice claim.

Contact Our Schaumburg Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you are a member of the United States armed forces who has suffered harm because of medical malpractice, Newland & Newland, LLP can help you determine your best options for recovering compensation. We will make sure you follow all of the correct rules and procedures when filing a claim, and we will help you document how you have been affected by these issues. We will advocate on your behalf and fight to ensure that you will be fully compensated for all of the damages you have suffered because of negligent medical treatment. Contact our Palatine military medical malpractice attorneys at 847-797-8000 to set up your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/06/16/troops-can-finally-file-medical-malpractice-claims-against-military-heres-how.html

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/06/17/2021-12815/medical-malpractice-claims-by-members-of-the-uniformed-services

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