Anyone in California who receives medical treatment can be harmed by a mistake on the part of the physician and other medical professionals. When this happens, there will generally be the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to seek compensation. However, members of the military who were victimized by a medical error previously could not file a malpractice claim. Now, a new law allows for victims to be compensated even while on active duty.
The new aspect of the law was part of a defense authorization bill. It supersedes a previous provision from 1950 that prevented active-duty military members from filing a lawsuit for damages. Due to that 1950 exception, many viable cases were thrown out of court. The new law stems from a Green Beret suffering from lung cancer. According to the soldier’s legal representative, he was initially diagnosed with pneumonia. Because his lung cancer was not detected sooner, the claim says his life was cut short.
Legal scholars say the inability on the part of victims of military medical malpractice to sue has caused many problems for them and their families. While they suggest that the law be completely overturned, the new bill is a positive step to protect these individuals. The change does not allow for a lawsuit filing. Instead, it will be an administrative case. The Department of Defense will make payments if the allegations warrant it and it will avoid the lengthy wait common with lawsuits.
The filing for compensation is comparable to military members seeking workers’ compensation. There are guidelines that will be adhered to for awards. Losing a limb will provide a certain level of compensation and so forth. There is a three-year statute of limitations to file from the time of the injury or condition. Facing a medical error can cause immense problems in a person’s life. Active duty military members who have been victimized by a surgical error, misdiagnosis or any other mistake should be aware that they can now be compensated. Having legal advice can help with pursuing a claim.