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Military Medical Malpractice: A Guide on How to File a Claim

| March 06, 2021, 06:29 PM

Military medical malpractice can be defined as any negligent actions or omission by a military doctor or any other military medical personnel that resulted in injuries in a member of the military or a dependent. Some of the common causes include but are not limited to: failing to correctly diagnose ailments, wrong treatment, and failure to perform surgeries according to the expected standards.

These claims are dependent on the fact that medical professionals are supposed to provide the standard level of care and caution in all procedures they undertake. When they fail to do so, they are said to have breached the duty of care to their patients and are hence liable for any injuries caused by their negligence. If you believe you are a victim of military medical malpractice, you can file a claim by following these steps.

1. Understand Who Can File the Claim

One thing to remember is that matters involving the military are not always handled as they are with civilians. This is especially true if you are an active duty member of the military. If you are a member of the military, it is paramount to understand the available rules and guides so you can understand the instances where you are allowed to file a lawsuit due to military medical malpractice.

In America, for instance, the Feres Doctrine does not allow active service duty members to file any claim for medical malpractice that they suffered under an active-duty military doctor. Only the dependents of military personnel and non-active military members are allowed to file such a claim. Active-duty can, however, file a claim on behalf of a dependent that has been injured.

2. Get a Lawyer

Once you have reviewed the law and discovered you are eligible to file the claim, the next important step is to find a competent malpractice attorney. This is, of course, after you (as a veteran) or a dependent suffered injuries due to medical negligence after seeking medical services from a member of military personnel. Moreover, it is worth noting that military and veteran medical facilities are governed by the federal government, meaning that the same federal tort law applies across all the US States. This means that even if the injury occurred in a facility in Portsmouth, Bethesda, or Bremerton a competent military malpractice attorney in Washington DC can help represent your case. They can help you prepare your case and navigate the various complexities involved in military medical malpractice cases. Using their knowledge and experience, they will ensure that you or your loved one gets the fair compensation they deserve after suffering medical negligence injuries.

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3. Beware Of the Time Limit

You need to be aware of the time-limit you have before you can file a claim. Generally, you have only two years from the date you knew you were injured or became aware of the cause of your injuries (or those of your dependent). The exact time you have depends on the facts surrounding your claim, which can only be analyzed by your lawyer. In the United States, the time is shorter than what ordinary civilians are given. Your lawyer should help in determining the exact timeframe so you have enough time to prepare for the lawsuit.

4. Gather Evidence

After you have a lawyer, it’s now time to gather evidence. The strength of your evidence will determine your chances of winning a lawsuit against the military and receiving fair compensation from the government. When gathering evidence, you can follow the usual steps used in an ordinary medical malpractice claim, which include:

  • Establishing a doctor-patient relationship
  • Collecting evidence of the breach of duty
  • Demonstrating causation
  • Proving the damages

Once you have gathered all the information above, with the help of your attorney, you will now have all the evidence you need to go to the next step.

5. Fill the Standard Form 95

The standard Form 95 is used to file military medical malpractice claims or any other claims against the government. The form requires the claimant to describe the basis of their claim, the kind of medical malpractice injuries suffered, the amount of compensation they are seeking, any witnesses, and also include any insurance coverage available. As a claimant, you need to fill the form and make sure to still integrate the services of an attorney in doing so. The completeness of your claim in the form will come in quite handy in making sure your claim is considered and processed fast.

6. Submit the Claim

While many such claims are presented to the respective court directly in the civilian world, military claims are submitted to the respective domicile branch of the claimant.  The DOD (Department Of Defense) will then have six months to review the claim, investigate it, and possibly attempt a settlement.

Filing a military medical malpractice claim can be a little bit trickier than the normal one. There are several eligibility issues and special steps to be followed, all of which have been mentioned. Remember that if the claim is denied, the claimant can still seek an appeal. They can also proceed to the courts using the standard Form 95. With the right evidence and a competent lawyer, you have a chance of being compensated.

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Category: Local News, NEWS

About the Author - Stephanie Maris

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland and most recently a wife and a mother. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages.

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