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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.

Birth Injuries at Military Medical Facilities

If you are on active duty and suffered from medical malpractice at any military health care facility in the United States you may not bring a claim for your own injuries. You may bring a derivative claim for injuries suffered by your dependents including a birth injury suffered by your child.

This is called the “Feres” doctrine, after the U.S. Supreme Court decision, FERES v. U.S, 340 U.S. 135 (1950). Under the FERES doctrine, members of the United States armed forces are barred from making a claim against the United States for personal injury or death arising “incident to service.”

Military dependents, including your children, are not barred by the FERES doctrine from bringing a claim for the physical injuries they, themselves, have suffered as a result of medical malpractice. Nor are military retirees barred by the FERES doctrine from bringing a medical malpractice claim for injuries suffered after their retirement, even if the medical treatment they received was for a service-connected injury.

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.

Four Decades of Record Breaking Victories

  • $29,400,000 Medical Malpractice

    Physicians at Tripler Army Medical Center failed to order a crucial test that would have detected a twisted gut in a 1-month-old baby, resulting in the loss of 95% of the baby's small intestine and leading to lifelong disability.

  • $9,500,000 Medical Malpractice

    Surgeons at Tripler Army Medical Center reattached the small intestine backward during gastric bypass surgery, leading to complications that ultimately resulted in the death of a 31-year-old Army wife and mother of three.

  • $9,000,000 Medical Malpractice
  • $9,000,000 Medical Malpractice
  • $6,500,000 Medical Malpractice
  • $5,600,000 Medical Malpractice
  • $5,000,000 Medical Malpractice
  • $4,250,000 Medical Malpractice
  • $1,800,000 Medical Malpractice

Why Davis Levin Livingston?

  • Available by phone 24/7 & ready to help.
  • Secured tens of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
  • Highest malpractice judgment in U.S. history against a military hospital.
  • Includes an experienced medical team including a nursing staff to answer your questions.
  • Mark Davis and Mike Livingston have been recognized as some of the best lawyers in Hawaii.
  • Resources available to advance your expenses; no cost or fees unless Davis Levin Livingston wins your case.

Dedicated Legal Counsel You Can Count On

Helping Families throughout hawaii for over 40 years
  • "Professional, KIND, and understanding"
    They are most professional, KIND, and understanding. Thank you Matt Winter for all your help.
    - Clare T.
  • "We wouldn't have chosen any other team!"
    Mathew Winter and the whole staff of Davis Levin Livingston guided us every step of the way and made sure we understood everything that was going on. They were always so welcoming and compassionate. Communication was never a problem and emails were answered super fast, especially when we had so many questions. They
    - Maariel
  • "The absolute best firm in Hawaii. Compassion and professionalism at its best!"
    Truly a wonderful experience with everyone at the firm. I can't thank you enough for helping provide closure for my family and me during this process. The absolute best firm in Hawaii. Compassion and professionalism at its best!
    - Daniel
  • "After doing extensive research I knew that Davis Levin Livingston was the firm for me due to the success they have had in cases like mine."
    After doing extensive research I knew that Davis Levin Livingston was the firm for me due to the success they have had in cases like mine. What surprised me was their personal touch. In the 3
    - Anthony