When a veteran suffers disability or death as a consequence of VA sponsored medical treatment, that veteran or their surviving family is entitled to compensation under 38 U.S.C. § 1151. Unlike other VA claims, these are not considered “service related,” however they are compensated in a similar manner. Similar laws provide compensation when a veteran is disabled or dies as a result of VA sponsored vocational rehabilitation or work therapy.
A major benefit of this law is that claims under §1151 may be brought at any time. There is no statute of limitations for these claims. This contrasts with traditional medical malpractice claims, which can be brought against the VA under the Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA), which are subject to a two-year statute of limitations.
Compensation under §1151 is also easier to get than a FTCA claim. Unlike a FTCA medical malpractice claim, under this law negligence need not necessarily be shown. Compensation is due if there was medical malpractice or if the harm was unforeseeable. A veteran claimant need only prove one of those things.
Veterans that have suffered harm can file claims under both the FTCA and §1151, however they will not be allowed to double-recover. The amount granted by one claim will simply be deducted from the award of a latter claim.
If you have suffered harm as a result of VA sponsored medical care, it is important to have an experienced veterans rights attorney evaluate your case to determine if you have a valid claim under 38 U.S.C. § 1151. If you have lost a loved one, Similar claims are available if the harm came as a result of vocational rehabilitation or work therapy. The Veterans Law Group is dedicated to helping veterans exercise and protect their legal rights. Please, contact us if you would more information.