A medical malpractice claim can be an essential legal mechanism for anyone who has sustained harm from a negligent medical provider in the United States. Each state enforces different medical malpractice laws pertaining to the damages available to claimants and how to file these civil claims. However, some individuals experience medical malpractice while under the care of federally funded medical providers.
If any federally employed medical professional harms a patient due to failure to meet the patient’s standard of care, the victim has grounds to seek recompense for their damages. However, this will follow a very different process from a standard medical malpractice claim.
Civil suits against the government are very challenging for plaintiffs, and many government agencies insulate themselves from civil liability using sovereign immunity. However, the federal government may still be held accountable for the damage done by a federal employee. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) exists to provide a legal avenue of recovery for those injured by the government. If you believe you have grounds for a medical malpractice claim under the FTCA, it is crucial to work with an attorney experienced in handling this type of case.
Understanding Medical Malpractice
The term “medical malpractice” describes any medical professional’s failure to abide by the standard of care a patient requires. While medicine is an inherently uncertain field and honest mistakes can and do happen, medical professionals are required to adhere to accepted treatments and techniques in handling all their patients. When they fail to do this and injury results, the effects can be devastating.
Proving liability for medical malpractice in the United States requires evidence that the defendant knowingly deviated from the standard of care their patient required. Of course, this is easier to prove in some cases than others, but for military medical malpractice cases or any claims filed under the FTCA, it is crucial for the plaintiff to have experienced legal counsel on their side if they want to have the best chance of success with their case.
Filing a Claim Under the FTCA
If you were harmed by a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional employed by the federal government, or if you were harmed by medical malpractice while serving in the United States military, you likely have the right to file a claim for damages under the FTCA. The FTCA mirrors the laws of your state of residence in some capacities. For example, when it comes to the statute of limitations or time limit for filing your FTCA claim, the statute of limitations would be the same as it would be for any standard medical malpractice claim filed in your state.
You must provide complete documentation and supporting evidence when you file your FTCA claim. Your attorney may consult an expert witness who can provide a sworn statement testifying in support of your claim, and once submitted to the appropriate agency, they will have six months to respond. If the agency rejects your claim, you would have another six months from the date of their rejection letter to file a lawsuit against the agency.
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates provides comprehensive medical malpractice representation to California clients, and we know the challenges you face if you must file an FTCA claim against any federal office or agency. The sooner you secure legal counsel you can trust after an injury from malpractice, the sooner you can get the answers you need for your most pressing legal questions.
Q: What Are the Four “D’s” Necessary for a Medical Malpractice Suit?
A: Success with any medical malpractice case requires proving:
- Duty of care.
- Deviation from the standard of care.
- Direction causation.
This means the plaintiff must prove the defendant had a professional duty to treat them but failed to meet the standard of care their situation required. They must also prove that they suffered direct harm from this misconduct and that their damages were caused entirely by the defendant’s actions.
Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
A: Every state sets a different statute of limitations or time limit for filing medical malpractice claims. For medical malpractice claims against federal medical providers, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury. Due to the complexity of the preliminary requirements of a medical malpractice case, it is always in the plaintiff’s best interests for them to secure legal representation they can trust right away. The right attorney can significantly expedite their proceedings and help them file their case with a solid foundation.
Q: How Much Is a Federal Medical Malpractice Claim Worth?
A: Filing any civil claim against the federal government is very different from a claim against another private party. The plaintiff is somewhat limited in terms of the compensation they can recover as they cannot expect to receive any punitive damages for their claim. An experienced attorney can potentially help their client recover the cost of any corrective medical care they require, compensation for lost earnings and lost future earning power, and pain and suffering, but non-economic damages are limited in FTCA claims to the plaintiff’s state’s limit on non-economic damages.
Q: Do I Need to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney for an FTCA Claim?
A: It is always best to file your medical malpractice claim with the help of an attorney, and this is especially true for medical malpractice claims against federal agencies. Your legal team can assist you in meeting all the preliminary requirements of your case, uncover the scope of damages you are eligible to claim, and prepare you for the difficult proceedings your case is likely to entail. Ultimately, you are not only more likely to win your case but also more likely to maximize your total compensation with the help of an experienced attorney.
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates can help a client navigate any complex medical malpractice claim, including one that must be filed under the FTCA. We understand the stress and uncertainty these cases typically generate and the many questions you are likely to have in your pursuit of compensation for your losses. Contact our team today and schedule your free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney you can trust.