When a federal government employee commits medical malpractice or any other form of negligence, the injured parties and their family members can bring suit against the United States government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). 28 USC §2674 et seq.
Federal tort claims involving medical malpractice are particularly common in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area, which has a number of military and veterans’ hospitals, as well as other government run healthcare providers. If you or a family member are injured because of the negligence of a federal government healthcare provider, it is important to hire a Maryland Medical Malpractice lawyer to navigate the complicated ins and outs of an FTCA claim.
Exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act: Active Duty Military
Unfortunately, under what’s known as the Feres Doctrine. military service members are barred from bringing suit against the United States government for injuries sustained while on active duty, including injuries caused by medical malpractice. Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950). Walter Daniel, the widower of an active duty Air Force officer who died in a Navy Hospital during childbirth, has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to reconsider the Feres doctrine, arguing that it should be limited to combat scenarios. Unfortunately, for the time being the only compensation available to military service members injured while on active duty and their families are Veterans Administration Benefits.
Filing a Federal Tort Claim: Timeframe and Process
The FTCA has a complicated set of deadlines that must be closely followed or else your case could be dismissed. Generally, a tort claim against the United States Government must be presented in writing to the appropriate federal agency within 2 years of the injury, or discovery of the existence and cause of the injury. 28 U.S.C. §2401.
Then one must wait for the appropriate federal agency to formally deny the claim before filing a lawsuit in a United States District Court. If 6 months have gone by and the federal agency has not responded, you can go ahead and file. The deadline to file a lawsuit in United States District Court is 6 months from the date of mailing of the federal agency’s notice of final denial, or from the date the 6-month period to deny ran out.
The appropriate federal agency means the federal agency that employed the tortfeasor, whether it be the Department of the Navy, Department of the Army, or Department of Veterans Affairs. Each federal agency’s Office of General Counsel will make the standard claim form available on their website.
The statute of limitations is not tolled during periods of infancy or incompetence or pending discovery that the government employee’s actions were negligent. Kubrick v. United States, 444 U.S. 111 (1979). Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, time spent in military service does not count towards computing the statute of limitations, provided of course that the claim is not a tort claim against the government related to military service. Conroy v. Aniskoff, 507 U.S. 511 (1993).
Federal Tort Claims, especially ones involving Medical Malpractice, are particularly complex, and required an Experienced Lawyer to avoid the pitfalls involving Statutes of Limitations and other barriers to relief. The lawyers at Cardaro & Peek have the necessary expertise and experience to navigate your Federal Tort Claim and fight for you and your loved one’s rights.
Contact The Law Offices of Cardaro & Peek, LLC Today
Do you believe that you or your loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice or medical neglect? You need to talk to an experienced team of local lawyers today.
The lawyers at Cardaro & Peek, LLC have the experience and resources necessary to investigate and litigate all types of medical claims throughout Maryland and Washington D.C. Cardaro & Peek, LLC has medical personnel on staff and has access to nationally recognized, board-certified physicians and other experts, to assist in the investigation, analysis, and prosecution of all types of medical malpractice claims. If you or a loved one have experienced malpractice, give us a call at 410-752-6166. Please visit our website www.cardarolaw.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn for more information.