Know your rights under the Federal Tort Claims Act

If you or a family member experienced medical malpractice at a VA facility, you may have legal recourse under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The FTCA outlines the process to sue federal government agencies and facilities for personal injury or death. With this process, you give the federal agency a chance to settle your claim for damages without going to court.

Review the process for filing a claim to seek compensation for injury resulting from negligence by a VA health care provider.

Filing a claim

For a claim against a doctor who works for the Veterans’ Administration, you must file your complaint directly with the VA. The agency will review this so-called administrative claim to determine its validity.

You can use the standard SF 95 federal claim form. This document guides you through the details you need to include. For example, you must provide a full accounting of the damages associated with the medical malpractice injury, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Provide all the evidence available to support your claim of health care provider negligence. Even if you do not use SF 95, your claim must include a monetary amount of requested damages and sufficient detail for the agency to review your case.

Reviewing time limits

You must file an FTCA claim within two years of the alleged VA malpractice. Failure to meet this deadline will result in claim rejection.

The VA will have six months to either negotiate a settlement or deny your claim. They may offer the full amount of your requested damages or provide only a partial payout. If the agency rejects your claim or pays less than your total requested damages, you can file a federal lawsuit within six months of the rejection date.

Filing a claim as soon as possible can help ensure you have the medical documentation you need to support your case. It also reduces the amount of time you will need to wait for a response in your case.