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VA medical negligence settlements reach $91.7 million

Readers may know that many veterans are able to utilize medical services operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that VA facilities constitute America’s largest healthcare system. In 2012, the VA treated about 5.6 million veterans.

With their important mission of providing care to America’s soldiers, one might expect a high level of care at VA facilities. However, recent data suggests otherwise. Last year, the federal government paid about $91.7 million to settle over 400 medical malpractice claims brought by veterans against VA medical facilities. The allegations in those lawsuits are equally troubling. Some of the injuries allege missed diagnoses, procedures performed on wrong body parts, or delays in treatment.

A personal injury lawyer might agree that doctors and medical facilities must be held accountable for their mistakes, even if unintentional. The standard of care expected of doctors is high, and for good reason: Patients might be entrusting their lives in the hands of a surgeon or other medical professional. As a jury might agree, any deviation from that standard of care that results in patient injury should be compensable. Although a damages award might not ease the pain of an injury, it can provide injured patients with funds to assist in their recuperation.

However, bringing a lawsuit against a doctor or medical facility is no small feat. Such a lawsuit usually means going up against a facility’s legal team, which may vigorously contest any wrongdoing or finding of fault. An experienced medical malpractice attorney, however, might be more than up for the challenge.

Source: claimsjournal.com, “Veterans Malpractice Payouts Reach 12-Year High on Taxpayer Tab,” Kathleen Miller, Sept. 9, 2013

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