VA Medical Malpractice FAQ’s
We at the Archuleta Law Firm understand that you might have many questions. Our goal is to help you and guide you through the legal process. Below we have addressed many of the most common questions regarding military medical malpractice.
1. What can I do if I or someone I know has been injured under the care of a military or VA medical hospital or clinic?
Contact the Archuleta Law Firm immediately. There are strict time limits that will apply to all potential claims. Contacting attorneys experienced in medical negligence cases against the government may be crucial to the outcome of any claims.
2. What is the Federal Tort Claims Act?
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) allows claimants to bring claims against the federal government for the medical malpractice of U.S. government employees.
3. Who may file a medical malpractice claim against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act?
Generally, veterans and their family members and servicemembers and their family members may bring FTCA claims for medical malpractice.
4. What if my injury occurred while I was overseas?
Generally, claims for injuries that have occurred overseas must be brought under the Military Claims Act or the Foreign Claims Act. The Military Claims Act and Foreign Claims Act are similar to the FTCA but are more narrow in their avenue for recovery. The Archuleta Law Firm handles claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Military Claims Act, and the Foreign Claims Act.
5. How long after my injury do I have to file a FTCA claim for medical malpractice?
Generally, claimants must file their FTCA medical malpractice claims within two years (three years for servicemembers) from the “date the claim accrued.” This is known as the FTCA statute of limitations.
Often, but not always, the “date the claim accrued” is the date of injury. The statute of limitations applies to minors as well. In some cases, the statute of limitations is extended for active duty personnel due to military service.
The facts of each particular case determine when the two year (3 years for servicemembers) statute of limitations period starts. It is not uncommon for people to mistakenly believe that they have more time than they actually have to file a claim.
6. When should I contact the Archuleta Law Firm?
Contact the Archuleta Law Firm immediately. Since the statute of limitations can forever bar an FTCA claim if it is not presented in writing within two years (3 years for servicemembers) from the “date the claim accrued,” it is best to let an experienced attorney determine the deadlines. It will take some time to gather the documents necessary to evaluate and prove the claim. Make sure to give the attorneys plenty of lead time.
7. What is the process for filing a claim and how long does it take?
First, an FTCA claim must be filed with the appropriate administrative agency. Usually the appropriate agency is the agency where the negligent employee works. Once the government agency receives the claim it has six months to review, negotiate, and/or deny the claim. If the claim is not resolved by the agency within six months from the date it received the claim or if the claim is denied by the agency then a lawsuit may be filed against the United States government.
8. Might I face repercussions for filing a claim against the government?
The United States Congress gave explicit authorization for the government to be sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The federal government allows itself to be sued because it is in its best interests to have a uniform method of accountability to its citizens.
9. Why should I contact an attorney who focuses on government claims?
Suing the federal government is not easy. The process can be complicated and has many traps of which less experienced attorneys may not be aware. When dealing with any legal problem, especially one that may be as complicated as claims against the government, it is best to seek attorneys who focus their practice in that area.
10. What was the largest FTCA award before Michael Archuleta handled the Dickerson and Lebron cases?
The largest FTCA award before the Dickerson and Lebron cases was the Hill case. The Hill award was $13,528,400 which was less than one-third the award in the Dickerson case ($44,717,681) and less than one-half the award in the Lebron case ($32,676,410).
11. Can you guarantee that my claim will be settled?
While there can never be a guarantee that any particular case will settle, some cases may be more likely to settle than others. At the Archuleta Law Firm, we believe that our involvement in claims helps tremendously and greatly increases the likelihood of a positive resolution of claims.
12. Is my case worth more if I use theArchuleta Law Firm as my attorneys?
Simply put, proven and highly experienced attorneys are an asset to your case. That, in turn, enhances your chances of success.
13. Am I unpatriotic for bringing a claim against the government?
Absolutely not. Congress created the Federal Tort Claims Act so that injured parties and their families could bring claims for the negligence of government employees. In fact, filing an FTCA claim may help to prevent similar incidents from happening to others.
14. Is handling government claims simple or complicated?
It is never an easy task to prove a claim against the government. The facts of each particular case determine the complexity of the claim. It is important to remember that the government has highly skilled attorneys defending claims.
15. Do I pay more to use the Archuleta Law Firm?
No. Attorneys’ fees are regulated under the FTCA. You pay the exact same to use the Archuleta Law Firm as you would a law firm handling its very first FTCA claim.
16. What if I live in a different city, state, or country from where the incident occurred?
Your current residence generally will not affect your claim except that it may give additional options as to where your suit may be filed.
17. What if I live in a different city, state, or country from where the Archuleta Law Firm has law offices?
The Archuleta Law Firm can represent you regardless of where you live. We handle claims in all 50 states, all U.S. territories, and overseas.
18. What distinguishes the Archuleta Law Firm from other law firms?
Our attorneys’ unique combination of knowledge, skill, experience, and record-setting results sets the Archuleta Law Firm apart from the rest.