Medical malpractice cases are complicated enough. But when you add government employees and veterans into the mix, things can get even trickier. And if you’ve started researching then chances are you’ve probably heard of Standard Form 95. But maybe you don’t know how to fill it out? You may be asking yourself questions such as:
- Can veterans sue the government?
- How do medical malpractice cases for veterans differ from traditional claims?
- Where do I even begin?
We know, you’ve got questions.
If you’re a veteran who has experienced medical malpractice at a VA facility, you’ll want to read this. In this “how-to guide,” we’ll explain the necessary steps to seek justice for medical malpractice. It all starts with the Standard Form 95 (SF 95). This legal document formally commences a claim against the U.S. government. Keep reading to learn more.
Who Should Fill Out Standard Form 95?
In many cases, it’s not possible to sue the United States Government. Medical malpractice cases, however, are different. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), a person injured due to the negligence of a United States government employee can file an administrative claim. This allows veterans (and their family members) to seek compensation for injuries, damages, unnecessary pain and suffering, and even wrongful death caused by medical malpractice.
Here are some examples of negligence that may warrant a claim:
- Failure to diagnose, or misdiagnosis (such as a cancer misdiagnosis)
- Surgical errors
- Treatment delays
- Misreading lab results
- Poor aftercare
- Not taking full patient history
If your injury was a result of negligence not listed above, you should still contact a medical malpractice attorney. At Hampton & King, we offer a free consultation – so you have nothing to lose.
A few tips about Standard Form 95:
- This form is very detailed. To ensure accuracy, it’s best to have a medical malpractice lawyer help you fill it out.
- Waiting to fill out the form could cost you! There’s a strict statute of limitations when it comes to the FTCA. You must file your claim within 2 years of your injury, or knowledge of the injury. After 2 years, a veteran victim will be unable to pursue a claim.
How Do I File A Claim Against The Government?
We understand that filing a claim against the government can seem like an uphill battle. But at least, there is a battle. Fortunately, it’s possible for veterans to seek compensation for medical negligence. Here’s how:
Step 1: Gather the details
There’s no such thing as too much evidence. After all, the administration reviewing your case is only interested in the hard facts. That’s why it’s best to collect all the information and evidence pertaining to your case. You don’t want lack of evidence to be the reason you receive a rejection.
Make sure you have gathered the following details (where applicable):
- Names and addresses of doctors and institutions handling your medical needs
- Record of an established doctor-patient relationship
- All medical records including lab results, x-ray results, prescriptions, & more
- Proof your injury was a result of negligence
- Itemized bills for medical expenses
- Proof of financial damages (the SF 95 asks for your amount of claim in dollars)
Step 2: Carefully & accurately fill out the form
Standard Form 95 is the preferred method of filing your administrative claim. Though it isn’t required, it’s a convenient form used to ensure you’ve supplied all the necessary information required for your claim.
Make sure you’re filing with the correct federal agency.
Fill out the form with ink. This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes people tend to forget. Make sure you use blue or black ink.
Include a definite sum of money. Remember when we mentioned the form asks for your claim amount? If you leave that bit blank, your form will be considered incomplete. An attorney can help you determine the appropriate amount to list.
Fill the form truthfully and accurately. A simple mistake can be the difference between your form being accepted or rejected. Make sure you read every line carefully and accurately fill in information including complete names, addresses, and correct agencies.
Step 3: Submit to appropriate agency & wait for a response
One common question is “Where do I send Standard Form 95?” Taken directly from the SF 95: “Claims presented under the Federal Tort Claims Act should be submitted directly to the “appropriate Federal agency” whose employee(s) was involved in the incident.” Simple as that. Send it to the appropriate agency, and this step is done.
Congratulations! You’ve completed the first step towards your medical malpractice claim. Now what? You wait. Yes, the wait can be brutal. Typically the agency you filed your claim (your VA Regional Counsel) will respond within six months. If all goes well, they’ll admit your claim and agree to pay you all of the money you demanded on your Standard Form 95. In some cases, they’ll pay you a portion of the amount you demanded. And still, there are times when they reject your claim altogether. If that’s the case, you have six months to then file a lawsuit.
Disclaimer: Active duty members can not file a lawsuit, though they can file an administrative claim. Filing a lawsuit is only applicable to civilians and veterans are considered civilians.
Need Help Filling Out Standard Form 95?
Dealing with injuries, pain, or trauma because of a medical professional’s negligence is never okay. And we want you to know you don’t have to go through this process alone. If you’re a veteran who has suffered from medical malpractice, or know a loved veteran who has, please reach out now. The clock is ticking and you could run out of time and possible compensation.
Contact Hampton & King today to set up your free consultation. Fill out our quick online contact form or give us a call. We’re available for you!