Military Medical Malpractice Claims Allowed to Move Forward

Military Medical Malpractice Claims Allowed to Move Forward

Recent changes by the federal government now allow for active duty military personnel and their families to seek compensation for injuries and deaths caused by negligence at military facilities.  For more that 70 years, the Frees Doctrine - established in 1950 - has prevented negligently harmed personnel from obtained justice.  The doctrine, set forth in a 1950 Supreme Court decision, concluded that military personnel, could not sue the federal government for medical malpractice or any other harm caused pursuant to “active duty.”  Thus - military personnel who suffered catastrophic injuries due to medical mistakes were left without legal recourse, unlike their civilian counterparts.  

Fortunately, this has changed.  While active duty military personnel may not file civil lawsuits, they may now file claims with the Department of Defense to recover compensation.  In general, claims must be filed within 2 years of the injury, and does not include claims for injuries sustained in combat zones.  This change covers medical mistakes such as surgical errors, delays in diagnosis, and anesthesia errors.  It also covers medical errors that result in the wrongful death of service members. The process involves filing an initial claim setting for the nature of the alleged malpractice.  The claim will be investigated and if meritorious, the DoD will proceed to adjudicate the matter.  

For more information or if you or a loved one has been harmed by medical negligence, please contact the dedicated San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation,


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