If you suffered medical malpractice injuries at the hands of a military doctor or at a VA facility, you may sue the responsible party—with one notable exception. Active duty servicemembers cannot file a lawsuit against the military due to the Feres Doctrine.
To find out if you qualify to sue the military for medical malpractice, contact Medical Malpractice Help today. Our medical malpractice lawyers can look over your case and explain your best options to recover damages. Call us at 800-916-7333 for a free consultation.
What Is the Feres Doctrine?
The Feres Doctrine is a 1950 U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibits active military members from suing the military over injuries that arose during their service, with some exceptions.
If you are an active duty serviceperson, this rule applies even if you were seeking treatment at a VA hospital or from a military doctor for an injury or illness that had nothing to do with your military service. The fact that a military doctor or hospital provided the treatment is enough to trigger the Feres Doctrine.
When Can I Sue the Military for Medical Malpractice?
If you are not an active duty member of the armed forces, you can sue a military doctor or facility for medical malpractice the same as you would a private doctor or facility. However, because the military is a government organization, you must follow special provisions if you decide to sue.
You might be eligible to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military if you are:
- The dependent of an active military servicemember, such as a child or spouse;
- A military veteran who is not on active duty; or
- A retired veteran who received care at a VA hospital or from a military doctor.
If you believe you have a case against the military, contact us. We can examine the details of your situation and determine if the military doctor or facility can be sued for medical malpractice.
Are There Any Special Restrictions on Filing a Lawsuit Against the Military for Medical Malpractice?
Aside from the restriction on active servicemembers suing the military for any reason, plaintiffs must follow special procedures when filing suit against any government entity, including the military. The Federal Tort Claims Act spells out these procedures.
According to the Federal Tort Claims Act, injured parties can hold the government liable for injuries caused by employees, representatives, or entities of the federal government. However, the law provides certain protections to the government, and plaintiffs must adhere to strict procedures to have a valid lawsuit.
The Process of Filing a Lawsuit Against a Government Entity
Before you can sue the military for medical malpractice, you must file an administrative claim with the government. This claim must:
- Provide specific details about the alleged medical malpractice; and
- Specify a dollar amount you are seeking in damages.
From the date you submit your claim, the government has six months to review it.
After the review, the government will either offer you a settlement or deny your claim. If the government denies your claim or offers an insufficient settlement, you can file a lawsuit. However, if you fail to file an administrative claim with the government in order to give the government the chance to settle before you sue, the courts will throw out your lawsuit.
This procedure applies to any non-active servicemembers who want to sue the military for medical malpractice.
What Can I Do If I Am an Active Servicemember?
If you are an active member of the armed forces who suffered injury as a result of a military doctor’s negligence, unfortunately, you lack legal recourse. However, your spouse, children, or other eligible dependents might be able to sue the military for your injuries.
If your loved one suffered harm at the hands of a military doctor, you might be able to recover damages for:
- Emotional anguish;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Loss of companionship associated with your loved one’s injury.
Our attorneys can help you determine if you can file for medical malpractice on behalf of an active duty servicemember.
How Can I Talk to a Lawyer About Filing a Lawsuit Against the Military?
Filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against the military can be a challenging process. You must first qualify to take legal action, and then follow specific rules and procedures to seek damages. The attorneys at Medical Malpractice Help can help you understand your legal options and navigate this process.
We fight for the rights of medical malpractice victims across the United States, and we want to help you pursue the fair compensation you deserve.