Military patients in California may be especially concerned about their rights if they are mistreated in a military hospital. It can be much more difficult to seek compensation from the military after malpractice in Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs facilities. There are restrictions that can prevent active-duty servicemembers from filing a lawsuit against the military, and other circumstances may also complicate a claim against these facilities. Legal reforms have made it easier for servicemembers to seek justice after mistreatment, but they may continue to face serious roadblocks along the way.
Legal changes open door to claims
While members of the military know they are putting their lives on the line when they enlist in the armed forces, this conviction generally relates to deployments, battles, and the defense of their country. Servicemembers do not expect to face death or serious injury because they were treated negligently in a military health facility. After several prominent cases of military medical malpractice, including a Green Beret who lost his life after his cancer was misdiagnosed by an Army doctor, Congress passed a law allowing servicemembers to file claims for medical malpractice in certain circumstances.
Delays persist for victims
Previously, the Feres Doctrine, a principle of U.S. law, prevented active duty military members from suing the armed forces. After the reform was signed into law by President Donald Trump, the Department of Defense was directed to create a new rule to manage these claims. However, injured servicemembers and their families have noted that these delays are continuing to deny justice to the victims.
Military law can be very different from civilian law, and it can be particularly important in these cases to seek out knowledgeable advice. A military medical malpractice attorney may advise victims about the potential to seek compensation for surgical mistakes, misdiagnoses and other serious errors.