It is not uncommon for people to believe they are unable to sue the government. Two words that may sound familiar are “sovereign immunity.” While the government is afforded a wide variety of protections, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) is a federal law that allows people to sue federal employees and agencies for injuries caused by negligent conduct. If you lost someone due to medical malpractice suffered through the VA, then you have a right, through the FTCA, to sue the Department of Veterans Affairs. Below, our Maryland wrongful death attorney from Rice, Murtha & Psoras looks at the complexities involved with filing a lawsuit against the VA.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim Against the VA
Because any lawsuit brought under the FTCA is governed by federal law instead of Maryland law, our Baltimore wrongful death attorney will have to adhere to numerous federal rules and regulations. Before any lawsuit is filed against the VA, a claimant must file an administrative claim within two years of the date of death or negligent conduct. Once a complaint is filed, the VA will be granted at least six months to investigate the allegations listed on the complaint.
After the investigation is complete, the VA will address the allegations or deny the claim. If your claim is denied, you have the option of requesting that the decision is reconsidered or filing a lawsuit in federal court. There is a strict deadline imposed on either action. If you fail to do either within six months of the date of denial, your claim will be barred. it is vital to talk with our experienced Bowie, MD wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure your claim is not prohibited forever.
Steps to File a Claim With the Veteran’s Association for a Wrongful Death in Maryland
As stated above, the first step in pursuing a wrongful death claim against the VA is filing an administrative complaint. Our Maryland wrongful death attorney is available to assist you with this process.
Step one is to complete and file the Standard Form 95. Any errors or omissions could delay or cripple your case. the form should include facts related to death, the amount of compensation sought, and a detailed description of what occurred.
It is crucial to attach supporting evidence and documentation. Our office will help you decide what documentation is relevant and persuasive. Without proof, your claim will be quickly denied. If the form is completed or filed incorrectly, you will not be able to receive compensation for your loss.
After the VA has your completed Standard Form 95 and all the supporting documentation, it will conduct an investigation. If your claim is denied after the inquiry, you are entitled to file a lawsuit in federal court.
Suing the Veteran’s Administration Under the FTCA in Maryland
Similar to any other personal injury or wrongful death case, the first step in suing the VA is to gather evidence to support your allegations. Our Ellicott City wrongful death attorney will gather medical records, bills, and other documents from the hospital where the medical malpractice happened. In addition to the evidence related to the death of your loved one, our office will collect documentation associated with the financial losses you suffered because of the death, including funeral costs and any time you might have lost from work. it is essential to provide supporting evidence related to both your economic and non-economic damages.
It is important to remember that you are under a strict and tight deadline. the federal lawsuit must be filed within six months of your denial. Our office is only able to ensure this deadline is met if you contact us in time.
Other Issues With Wrongful Death Claims Against the VA in Maryland
Dealing with a government agency can be taxing and frustrating. Because of this, there are other potential issues or problems to consider.
For example, in some cases, the VA could approve your initial claim but not offer a settlement that is sufficient enough to cover your financial losses. Sometimes when this occurs, our Maryland wrongful death lawyer could negotiate directly with the VA to reach a more reasonable settlement figure. If an agreement is reached, the VA will require you to sign a release form to protect itself from any further claims or litigation in federal court. However, if an agreement is not possible, then you are still permitted to file a lawsuit. Remember, there is still a strict deadline, so it is essential to be prepared with proper representation.
Few people have praised government bureaucracy for its efficiency. Unfortunately, the VA is sometimes plagued with the same bureaucratic strangleholds that slow down other services. This means that it is possible that your claim could be ignored – sometimes for several years. If this occurs, it is up to you to take action. With our office’s help, you could attempt to contact the VA and move the process forward. Fortunately, federal courts have ruled that, even if there is no response, a claimant is entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the VA fails to respond after six months. A key element under these circumstances is the ability to prove that the VA received notice of your claim.
Call Our Maryland Wrongful Death Attorney for a Free Consultation
Losing a loved one or a family member is never easy. If the death is untimely and the direct result of medical malpractice through a VA hospital, your emotional devastation could be even worse. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is never easy but often necessary. When it is filed against the VA, there are additional hoops and deadlines to consider. You should have an experienced Towson wrongful death attorney at your side. the compassionate Maryland personal injury attorneys and staff at Rice, Murtha & Psoras have provided professional representation to grieving loved ones for decades. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.