FTCA: What We Know! 

by | Feb 11, 2021 | Blog, Military Spouse, News, Resources, Veteran's Benefits, Veterans Affairs

FTCA: What We Know! 

A Deep Dive Into The Topic

The National Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA) is quite complex, so we’ve decided to take a deep dive into what it is, in an effort to help educate the public and hopefully shed some light on how we may be able to help.

‘Sovereign Immunity’ is a term used to describe a situation in which a private citizen cannot bring a lawsuit against the government, unless they’ve been granted express permission – the FTCA has, in many ways, now become that permission.

Sounds pretty straightforward, no?

Unfortunately, it’s still maintained as one of the more complicated laws, with various parts that need to be followed properly.

What is an FTCA Claim? Do I Have One?

Some examples of an FTCA claim would be, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Motor Vehicle Accident: Being involved in a motor vehicle accident with an FBI agent, while the agent is in pursuit of a suspect/suspects.
  • Slip-and-Fall Accident: Being injured in a slip-and-fall inside of a federal building, like a post office.
  • Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice/negligence on the part of anyone who may be employed by a federally-funded clinic/medical facility (e.g. VA). This includes, but is not limited to: birth injury, brain injury, wrongful death.

Again – this all sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Not quite. There’s actually a very detail-oriented list of requirements that any claim must comply with to be considered valid or viable.

  • The individual who is accused of being at fault in the situation must be a federal employee, and it cannot be an independent contractor who was hired by the federal government.
  • The negligence/wrongdoing that occurred must have taken place in the period of time that the employee themselves was employed.
  • Any claim that is being pursued against a federal employee must be a claim of negligence, as opposed to a claim of intentional misconduct.
  • Finally, any claim must revolve around, and be expressly permitted by the state in which the negligent act took place, it cannot be pursued in a separate state from the accident location.

With that said, two exceptions come into play with some of the above. It may be entirely possible for an individual to pursue a lawsuit against an independent contractor hired by the government if it is able to be proved that they’re actively treated like an employee. It’s also possible that a claim of intentional misconduct is pursued if they fall on specific types of federal law enforcement employees, but by no means is it a blanket-style situation.

How Does This Apply to Veterans? 

If you, or someone you love, was injured by a physician, or any other employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or if you or a loved one was injured while in a VA rehab or service/training program, you’re able to take two different courses of action.

You can file a claim with the VA for disability compensation, or pursue any necessary monetary damages underneath everything we’ve laid out above.

Filing a claim, commonly known as a Section 1151 claim, limits the situation to a claim/claims that derive from an injury sustained at a VA hospital location, outpatient clinic, medical examination, and/or surgery.

The difference here is that under the FTCA there are little to no limitations as long as the criteria are met.

Another key area to note is that unlike the VA rating system, damages under an FTCA claim are not calculated by the basis of any type of evaluation regarding how severely the situation impacts your ability to be gainfully employed. Instead, damages you can potentially receive are quantified using the suffering and potential/present economic loss(es) that resulted due to the injury.

And – unlike any form of disability compensation which is paid monthly, if you’ve won your FTCA suit, you’ll receive one lump sum.

However, if an individual is awarded benefits, the amount is deducted from the FTCA judgment, guaranteeing that the government does not pay twice for the same injury.

Veteran-Specific Examples:

Here are some Veteran-specific examples of an FTCA claim:

  • Mistakes/errors committed by labor/delivery room staff at a military hospital, which in turn lead to life-altering injuries for an infant.
  • The failure/inability to properly diagnose a brain tumor at a Veterans hospital, which, unfortunately, leads to a stroke and/or a lifelong brain injury.
  • A military doctor failing to timely diagnose/treat symptoms of  Cauda Equina syndrome, which can lead to permanent nerve damage.

If any of this sounds like a situation you or a loved one is in, please call us right now at (866) 866-VETS!

What Do I Do Now? How Do I Get Started?

Great question! Here are four things you can do to get started right on a claim right now:

  • Find and compile all relevant records/documentation related to your injury/injuries.
  • Itemize and calculate the total amount of prior economic losses due to this situation.
  • Put together a list of not only your injury/injuries but limitations caused by the injury/injuries.
  • Complete FTCA form, Standard Form 95, with the help of one of our experienced attorneys!

Please contact us if one of the following medical malpractice situations applies:

  • Birth Injury.
  • Cerebral Palsy.
  • Brain Injury.
  • Surgical Errors.
  • Missed Diagnosis.
  • Failure to Diagnose.
  • Wrongful Death.
  • Mistakes Made in Labor/Delivery.
  • Damage to Organs.

Claim Denied? Need Help? Schedule a Free Consultation Today!

Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban is knowledgeable about and experienced in filing claims under the FTCA, and our attorneys are focused on providing you with the best chance of winning. If you or a loved one has sustained medical injuries due to negligence, we are here to help file a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact us today at (866) 866-VETS to get the process started now!

We are also prepared to help you or a loved one with benefits issues, in the pursuit of substantial relief for debilitating diseases and/or injuries, all of which are directly related to and in conjunction with prior military service.

We take pride in being able to assist veterans all across the United States of America, and are accredited to do so! There’s no fee to speak to us about a claim/case. Sign up now using the form below, thanks!

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