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Suing the Department of Veterans Affairs for treatment delays

In our last post, we attempted to shed some light on the recent Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) misconduct scandal. If you are a veteran who has experienced harm as a result of delays in your care at VA hospitals, you may be wondering if you have any opportunities to seek compensation for this harm.

This is a complex question that should be directed towards an attorney experienced in matters of veterans disability benefits and other veterans issues. However, it is worth noting that the law does generally protect individuals from mistreatment by professional caregivers. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that according to an investigation by the Dayton Daily News, the phrase “delay in treatment” appears in more than 165 settlement claims paid out by the VA.

Generally, veterans who have experienced harm due to delays in care at VA facilities will need to go through certain steps before filing an actual lawsuit. For example, they will likely need to first file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. This legislation governs injuries caused by federal employees like medical personnel and administrative personnel employed at VA facilities.

After filing this claim, you will need to wait up to six months for a response from the government. If the government does not seek to settle or deny your claim within six months, you may file a lawsuit. You may also file suit if your claim is rejected but you and your attorney believe that your case is strong enough to move forward.

Source: Findlaw Injured, “Can You Sue the VA Over Delays in Treatment?” Brett Snider, May 21, 2014

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