Military Medical Malpractice FAQ’s
No Fee if No Recovery
1. If I’ve been injured by the U.S. government or a U.S. government employee, what should I do?
Contact an attorney. Whether or not you decide to contact Archuleta Law Firm to obtain private legal advice is your decision. Contacting an attorney experienced in negligence cases against the government may be crucial to the resolution of your claim. The government employs legions of experienced attorneys and investigators to defend against claims. Many personal injury attorneys do not handle cases against the government with a high level of expertise. Also, without aggressive counsel, the government may delay your case for many years without action.
2. What is the Federal Tort Claims Act?
The Federal Tort Claims Act provides a limited waiver of the federal government’s immunity from suit. Under the United States Constitution, the federal government is immune from suit. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) allows claimants to bring claims against the federal government for the negligent conduct of government employees. In short, the FTCA allows the federal government to be sued as if it were a person.
3. Who may file a claim against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act?
Any person may file a claim against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The claimant need not be a citizen of the United States. Generally, veterans and their family members, servicemembers, the dependents of Active Duty Military Personnel, Retirees, and Civilians may bring an FTCA action for medical malpractice. Under the new law enacted in December 2019, Active Duty Military Personnel may bring a claim for injuries/death as a result of medical malpractice. Active Duty Military Personnel may also bring a claim for injuries to their dependents.
4. What if my injury occurred while I was overseas?
Generally, claims for injuries that have occurred overseas must be brought under the Military Claims Act, the Foreign Claims Act, or the Federal Tort Claims Act. The Military Claims Act and Foreign Claims Act are similar to the FTCA but are more narrow in their avenue for recovery. The Archuleta Law Firm handles claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Military Claims Act, and the Foreign Claims Act.
5. How long after my injury do I have to file a claim?
Generally, prospective claimants must file their FTCA claim within two years (three years for servicemembers injured from medical malpractice) from the “date the claim accrued.” Often, but not always, the “date the claim accrued” is the date of injury. This two year period (3 years for servicemembers) is known as the FTCA statute of limitations. The statute of limitations applies to minors as well. In some cases, the statute of limitations is extended due to military service.
6. When should I contact an attorney?
Contact an attorney immediately. The facts of each particular case determine when the two year (3 years for servicemembers) statute of limitations period starts. It is not uncommon for people to mistakenly believe that they have more time than they actually have. Since the statute of limitations can forever bar an FTCA claim if it is not presented in writing within two years (3 years for servicemembers) from the “date the claim accrued,” it is best to let an attorney determine the deadlines. It will take some time to gather the documents necessary to evaluate and prove the claim. Make sure to give your attorneys plenty of lead time.
7. What is the process for filing a claim and how long does it take?
First, a FTCA claim must be filed with the appropriate administrative agency. Usually the appropriate agency is the agency where the negligent employee works. Once the government agency receives the claim it has six months to review, negotiate, and/or deny the claim. If the claim is not resolved by the agency within six months from the date it received the claim or if the claim is denied by the agency then suit may be filed against the United States government.
8. Might I face repercussions for filing a claim against the government?
The United States Congress gave explicit authorization for the government to be sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The federal government allows itself to be sued because it is in its best interest to have a uniform method of accountability to its citizens.
9. Why should I contact an attorney who focuses on government claims?
Suing the federal government is not easy. The process can be complicated and has many traps of which less experienced attorneys may not be aware. When dealing with any legal problem, especially one that may be as complicated as a federal action against the government, it is best to seek attorneys who focus their practice in that area.
10. What was the largest FTCA award before Michael Archuleta handled the Dickerson and Lebron cases?
The largest award before the Dickerson and Lebron cases was the Hill case. The Hill award was $13,528,400 which was less than one-third the award in the Dickerson case ($44,717,681) and less than one-half the award in the Lebron case ($32,676,410).
11. What is the difference between a judgment and a settlement?
A judgment is a sum awarded to a party by the court as a result of a trial. A settlement is a sum on which two or more parties agree that resolves the legal dispute outside the courtroom.
12. Can you guarantee that my claim will be settled?
While there can never be a guarantee that any particular case will settle, some cases may be more likely to settle than others. The facts of each particular case determine how likely a case is to be settled without the need for trial. If the government does not make reasonable settlement offers, as often happens, Archulta Law Firm has the experience to go to trial.
13. Is my case worth more if I use Archuleta Law Firm as my attorneys?
Simply put, proven and highly experienced attorneys are an asset to your case. That, in turn, enhances your chances of success.
14. Am I unpatriotic for bringing a claim against the government?
Absolutely not. Congress created the Federal Tort Claims Act so that injured parties and their families may bring claims for the negligence of government employees. In fact, filing a FTCA claim may help to prevent similar incidents from happening to others.
15. Is handling government claims simple or complicated?
It is never an easy task to prove a claim against the government. The facts of each particular case determine the complexity of the claim. It is important to remember that the government has highly skilled attorneys responding to claims. The government attorneys vigorously defend cases.
16. Do I pay more to use Archuleta Law Firm?
No. Attorneys’ fees are regulated under the FTCA. You pay no more to use Archuleta Law Firm than what another firm may charge.
17. What if I live in a different city, state, or country from where the incident occurred?
Your current residence generally will not affect your claim except that it may give additional options as to where your suit may be filed.
- What if I live in a different city, state, or country from where Archuleta Law Firm has law offices?
Archuleta Law Firm can represent you regardless of where you live. We handle claims in all 50 states, all U.S. territories, and overseas.
- What distinguishes Archuleta Law Firm from other firms?
Our attorneys’ unique combination of knowledge, skill, experience, and record setting results sets Archuleta Law Firm apart from the rest.