Maryland Veterans Hospital Lawyer
Veterans, who have been injured by the Veteran Affairs (VA) healthcare system, and surviving family members of those who have suffered wrongful death due to delays in diagnosis or treatment, can take compensatory action against the VA by filing a claim. Many people who do not work in the legal profession may not know how to initiate a claim, which is when a Maryland injury lawyer can be helpful.
Filing Claims for Compensation
There are only two avenues of redress for Maryland veterans and their families when injured by the VA Healthcare System.
- They can file an FTCA claim with the VA’s Region 3 legal counsel in Baltimore
- They can also file a Section 1151 Claim with the VA’s District 3 Regional office.
Please note that a Section 1151 Claim is an administrative action that is handled directly by the VA while the FTCA claim could result in a malpractice lawsuit.
Federal Tort Claims Act
Under the FCTA, claims must be filed within two years of when the injury or harm was discovered, and the patient learned of the condition. All who file FCTA claims must do so by using SF Form 95. The completed form should include:
- A detailed statement of the harm experienced by the injured veteran
- A specific itemized dollar amount of the claim, which can include all private practice medical and associated rehabilitation bills, pain and suffering, disability, and certain travel expenses incurred during treatment
- Itemized bills for all incurred medical expenses
- A reasonable projection of all expected medical expenses
- A “second opinion” physician’s statement
- A VA medical exam report
- If employed, a statement from the claimant’s employer confirming time away from their job
Once the form is submitted, claimants must wait six months for the government to send them a formal reply to their claim. At that point, the VA can:
- Accept the claim and pay it
- Offer to settle the claim for less
- Reject the claim
- Do nothing
For legal purposes, if there is no reply to a claim at the end of 180 days, the claim is viewed as a decision by the VA to do nothing. If the claim produces any of the last three results, claimants may then file a malpractice lawsuit against the VA in federal court. The case will be heard by a federal judge, who will render a decision.
Under 38 U.S.C. §1151, all veterans or their families are entitled to VA disability compensation benefits if the veteran’s disability or death resulted from:
- Substandard VA hospital care, medical or surgical treatment, or an examination
- Pursuit of an itinerary of vocational rehabilitation under any VA-administered law
- Participation in any VA-administered compensated work therapy (CWT) program
A Section 1151 claim can be filed at any time. Although, there is no statute of limitations on an 1151 Claim, it carries many restrictions that FCTA actions do not. The claim is typically submitted as a formal letter which clearly states that the claimant seeks Section 1151 benefits and why. Any documentation should accompany the request, as well as any information that a physician provides the claimant in order to reinforce the request for benefits. The dollar values of the benefits are the same as disability or death suffered by a veteran in a service-related incident.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or even death due to the VA’s delay in diagnosis or treatment in Maryland, an attorney can help you understand the options available. Our legal team is available to set up a consultation with one of our Maryland VA hospital lawyers today.