If you or a loved one has suffered preventable injuries or a wrongful death due to medical malpractice while serving in the military, you may qualify to file a claim for compensation under the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (2020 NDAA).
The 2020 NDAA grants every active-duty military service member the right to file an administrative claim to seek compensation should a United States Department of Defense health care provider cause them injury. This is a giant step forward for the rights of our troops, as the long-standing Feres doctrine has barred these individuals from seeking such compensation for decades.
At Davis Levin Livingston, we are proud to give thanks to our troops and support them throughout the military medical malpractice claims process. We understand how distressing it can be to dedicate your life to serving your country, and then be left without any legal recourse after you have been injured by another’s negligence. Now that you have finally been granted legal recourse, our award-winning lawyers are here to help you use it.
Call Davis Levin Livingston at (808) 740-0633 to schedule a free consultation with our Hawaii military medical malpractice attorneys.
Know Your Legal Rights as an Active-Duty Service Member
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 1346, was signed into law in 1946, and granted private individuals the right to sue the federal government over any injuries they sustained due to the negligence of medical professionals acting on its behalf.
However, in reviewing Feres v. United States (340 U.S. 135) in 1950, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FTCA should not and does not apply to active-duty military personnel. This ruling eventually became known as the “Feres doctrine,” and it continues to stand in the way of justice for many injured military service members.
The 2020 NDAA did not overturn the Feres doctrine, but it did weaken it. Military service members finally have some legal recourse, as they can seek compensation for their injuries caused by negligent military doctors, nurses, and/or medics, as well as by military hospitals.
How to Pursue a Military Medical Malpractice Case in Hawaii
The structure of military medical malpractice cases differs from typical medical malpractice cases, as they are filed as administrative claims and addressed by the Department of Defense, not a federal court.
To ensure that your claim is comprehensive, make sure to include the following:
- Evidence that the party who harmed you owed you a standard of care, such as through the establishment of a doctor-patient relationship;
- Evidence that this standard was breached by malpractice, such as the failure to diagnose;
- Evidence that this breach injured you, such as by allowing your condition to progress; and
- Evidence that you incurred damages, such as emotional distress, medical debt, etc.
Once submitted, the Secretary of Defense will review your claim to determine whether you qualify for compensation up to the amount of $100,000. If it is determined that your claim is worth more, it will be forwarded to the Secretary of the Treasury for another review. Should your claim be approved, you will receive compensation in the form of a check from the federal government.
Sadly, the decision of either of these government officials is final and cannot be appealed or contested. What’s more, the Feres doctrine still stands under current law: Active-duty service members remain prohibited from suing the federal government for their military medical malpractice injuries. It is, therefore, best to reach out to an attorney to give yourself the strongest chance at having your administrative claim granted.
Common Types of Recoverable Damages
If your military medical malpractice claim is brought to a favorable resolution, you may be able to recover compensation for economic and non-economic losses, also known as damages, such as:
- Medical treatment;
- Hospital bills;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of earnings;
- Loss of quality/enjoyment of life;
- And more.
Please note that you will not be entitled to any more compensation than you request in your administrative claim. Therefore, it is advised that you consult an attorney when compiling your claim to help you determine the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. The last thing you want to do is accidentally shortchange yourself.
How an Attorney Can Help
It is possible to file an administrative claim for your military medical malpractice case without professional help, but our team at Davis Levin Livingston can streamline the process and make it easier for you. We can investigate and evaluate your case, analyze and research any medical issues, secure expert testimony to support your argument, ensure that your claim is compiled correctly and with all necessary details, as well as that it is submitted during the appropriate filing period.
Call Our Experienced, Trial Lawyers at (808) 740-0633
For more than 40 years, Davis Levin Livingston has effectively represented many Hawaii residents in their injury claims under the FTCA, and now, we are committed to helping you resolve your military medical malpractice claim favorably and in a timely manner. Not to mention, our military medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you will not owe us a dime unless we are successful in recovering your compensation.
We understand that the stress of pursuing administrative claims may further burden injured individuals, and that’s why we are more than happy to take on the bulk of the work on your behalf. Our lawyers genuinely care about helping you obtain the financial support you need and deserve. Experience the confidence of working with a skilled, dedicated legal team you can trust.
Don’t wait any longer. Contact a Hawaii military medical malpractice lawyer online today.