VA Regional Counsel Tip – All Claimants Must Sign On The Line
I talked with a VA Region Counsel attorney about the steps they prefer when a claimant submits an SF-95 tort claim. Here is what he said to make sure you get it right.
When it comes to filing an SF-95 claim for malpractice or some other form of negligence, all claimants need to be sure to properly fill out the form. The two things you must do are provide a “sum certain” (meaning the total amount of damages) and the signature of all claimants.
ALL THOSE HARMED MUST SIGN!!
The signatures and damages amounts can either be provided on the SF-95 form or on an attached writing that accompanies the SF-95. Claimants can be the person harmed, like the veteran, his or her spouse, children, and anyone affected.
The SF-95 form is hard to fit a signature on for more parties than one. There is also limited space on the top right of the form where it asks to provide the name and address of the claimant.
For that reason, the attorney said he prefers it when claimants provide a separate writing with signatures and the total dollar amount of damages you believe you suffered.
A spouse can claim generally referred to as a “loss of consortium” claim brought at the same time as the claim by the injured party. In some states, children can also bring claims for this or similar.
Most spouses (or children) who fail to include a claim based on the impact of their marriage from the malpractice are nixed when it comes to making the claim in court following the administrative review.
Here are some common names for these kinds of damages that spouses can assert. Be sure to double-check what your state courts allow related to claims for spouses or children:
- Loss of Consortium
- Loss of Companionship
- Loss of Society
Be sure to also list the values of damages you believe each person suffered and also a total for all. When you do this, do not underestimate the damages you seek. Once VA issues a final decision on your claim, you usually cannot increase the amount even if a judge awards and amount higher than what you claimed. Do your research!
I really cannot speak too much on this topic because I do not trust the VA OIG AND THE VA IG-especially when I stated that I have severe pain that can keep me awake for days, and expressed an “emotional response” but repeated several times I need to relax my body, this person pushed my buttons. Bad timing. I have issues with memory, I guess I shall start printing every damn medical research journal since it appears these people have no clue. Ms. Hickey, wrong move and wrong bitch I am to do it to. I am no slacker, in fact I hate being inactive, school work and giving back, after the kids were grown I gave back in new ways, it’s who I am. I will email you. Give you more info, very interesting. If they noticed high evals but don’t get that I took what I learned and what I did extremely seriously. MALPRACTICE AT THE VA? NO WAY!!! :-0
Gee, I shall say “hmmm, and more hmmm, I hope you notice the attachments.” One was vital. Sending it to you!!!
Thanks a million BEN! Or SEVERAL MILLION, WHO KNOWS???
I think we need some anonamous VETS !to go thru all V As to see if the info and care they get seems OK to them as a Vet ! Not a VIP !
Comments to repliers here:
VSOs and vet reps do NOT handle FTCA issues.
They can,however, handle Section 1151 claims.
Anyone has the right to handle a FTCA claim themselves.
I did and I won. But I had to study not only FTCA law ,I had to srudy cardiology and neurology.
LOTs of work. And this was prior to the internet as we know it now.
It is best to get an Independent Medical Opinion ,if you believe you care has not been proper and has caused you additional disability, and if the IMO reveals substantial malpractice, then a malpractice lawyer will be glad to help..
Years later ,after the FTCA claim, when I realized my husband had another malpracticed condition, under the AO regulations, I paid 4 thousand dollars for 2 IMOs from Dr Craig Bash and also had a freeby from a Neuro. This was for an Agent Orange death award.
Although I had studied diabetes mellitus,by then, I also was finishing my degree at the American Military University—- I was the only civilian there and wanted to graduate with honors……so, although I felt confident in my claim., and my evidence , I wanted very strong IMOs to combat their negative C & Ps and perhaps to save me some time
because my degree had priority by them. .
Malpractice ,if it has occurred, is found within the documented medical records.
A death due to malpractice also would have a death certificate that could be viable to a FTCA case, and best of all ,an autopsy.
The medical acronyms in medical records have to be understood, as well as blood chem reports, EKGs, ECHOS, MRIs etc etc etc.
This is all often very diffcult for any lay person to understand. .It takes lots of reading and research.
I have posted the full gamit of 1151 claims as well as FTCA claims , in our FTCA and 1151 forums at http://www.hadit.com.
My SMC CUE award of 2012 under 1151 is there as well and info on my pending 1151 issues.
My FTCA was settled in 1997 , so obviously malpractice can continue to have a domino affect.
I am still alive, but, I want to help pave the way for my family in the event of my future wrongful death. So, (1). Where can I do my research… Title 38, I presume? (2). Are all attorneys capable of doing these, or do I really need an attorney? (3). What about Veteran Service Organizations, can – and should – they do these? (4). Are there organizations that do these for the families?
Thank you Ben for the additional information. I find it is uncanny how the VA I have to deal with is oblivious to the medical profession and I find pretty much SNAFU even with all the hearings that have taken place in Washington D.C. last summer.
<> It HAS to be the Southern states that allow kids to file the loss of consorium, right?
Great Info Ben.
After I won my FTCA case I had other dealings with the General Counsel’s office and often had a chance to BS a little with the VA attorney who settled with me.
I asked him what the biggest errors he saw was regarding SF 95s. He said claimants often do not put amounts in 12b, and 12 C and them total the.
amounts in 12 d.
Of course 12 C amount is only for wrongful death cases and 12 A regards stuff like if the VA van hit you at a VAMC and caused you disability.
I am glad you brought this same info up here.
The wording under the charges ( Question # 8, Basis of claim) is critical too.
I stated that
the VA care my husband received was not appropriate medical care nor comparable to the care he would have received in the standard and usual medical community. The VA’s numerous omissions of acts caused the malpractice to escalate and directly caused his death.
And then I expanded on that with my medical evidence.
Under # 8 I referred then to attached and enclosed information, I identified the two VAMCs who malpracticed against him and referred them to enclosed medical records.
I filed the Section 1151 claim the same way.The evidence for both claims was the same.
One of the first things (if not the very thing RCs or the GC does when getting a SF 95 is to see if they can deny for the claim being outside the Statute of Limits.
That is why SF 95s should not sit around and should be filed immediately when a veteran or their surviving spouse believes the VA malpracticed on them.
I know 2 vets who lost their case, because they sent in the SF 95 too late.
Luckily one had filed under 1151 but the other one didnt as far as I know.
Just to add, this is recent news:
The Department of Veterans Affairs this month agreed to pay $900,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a Washington man who died in late 2012 after a VA scheduler failed to refer him promptly to specialized care for melanoma.
Read more here: https://www.thenewstribune.com/2015/01/24/3603545_va-settles-for-nearly-1-million.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
The worst FTCA cases are those that are never filed against the VA (and should have been, based on the medical evidence)
Is this really a way to go ? What Federal Review Board Judge is going to ok a DENIED claim ? Right now I have bills that total 1000 + dollars from my local ER, and the REASON for DENIAL ; the nearest VA facility is less than 40 miles and could have rendered the same SERVICES.
Well, the nearest facility is closer to 50 miles and is not equipped for anything outside of LAB WORK. It, in actuality, is an outreach clinic where my PC physician is located, so I do not have to travel 100 + miles to the closest VA hospital.
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