Sue the VA in Small Claims Court
In most instances, it is not possible to sue the federal government, but you can sue the VA (Veterans Affairs) if you've suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of an employee of the VA under The Federal Tort Claims Act. It's a long and difficult process, especially if you go it alone, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Federal Tort Claims Act was enacted in 1946. Veterans or their family members can for medical malpractice as long as the lawsuit conforms to the requirements set forth by The Federal Tort Claims Act.
In order to successfully file a claim against the VA, a plaintiff must prove:
- That an injury or property damage exists because of a federal government employee.
- That the VA employee was acting within the scope of their official duties.
- That the employee was acting negligently.
- That negligent conduct caused the injury or damage that stemmed from the complaint.
The plaintiff must also provide verification to the court that all requirements are met.
Reasons to File a Lawsuit Against the VA
No one is perfect, including VA doctors and employees. They make mistakes too, and sometimes those mistakes are at the detriment of the veterans they pledge to serve. Conduct that denotes negligence or malpractice is determined by the state in which the infraction took place, but, in general, here are the most common reasons veterans or their families sue the VA:
|Sue for Misdiagnosis||Neglectful or incompetent doctors can give a patient an incorrect diagnosis that leads to further health issues or death.|
|Sue for Mistakes Administering Anesthesia||Administering anesthesia requires training and skill. Without proper training, serious injury, or even death, can befall the patient.|
|Sue for Medication Errors||Taking the wrong medication can be deadly. For instance, a negligent doctor would prescribe a patient something they are allergic to or that counteracts current medications. Medication errors can seriously injure a patient and even cause death in some situations.|
File a Lawsuit Against the VA by Yourself
Filing a lawsuit against the VA without help or representation is a difficult and confusing process. The laws pertaining to such a life-changing circumstance should not be undertaken by a layperson. The steps to sue the VA must be followed exactly. They include:
- Making sure the case is less than two years old.
- Submit an administrative claim against the offending employee to the regional VA office where the injury occurred. The VA may decide to settle after the plaintiff submits a claim to the regional office. They have six months to decide after the receipt of the claim.
- If they deny the claim, the plaintiff can then file a federal lawsuit against the United States.
The VA may approve your initial claim but not offer a fair amount. They are also known to ignore a claim for several years before making any move.
Dangers of Filing a Lawsuit Alone
Handling your own lawsuit makes you a pro se litigant. Unfortunately, no matter how well you know the law, things can still go wrong. When you have no formal training on the law and how it works, the risk is even higher.
Here are the top 3 dangers of filing a lawsuit alone:
- Litigation Mistakes: Even lawyers make litigation mistakes in court. Laws are confusing and can seem contradictory at times. It takes extensive knowledge of case law to succeed in a federal case.
- Limited Access to Information: Lawyers and other legal professionals have access to critical files and other documents required to successfully navigate the court system.
- Negotiations are Challenging: A pro se litigant can typically calculate the amount of compensation they should receive but may not understand how to negotiate for a higher amount. The opposing lawyers are experienced in negotiating the lowest possible payout and it's difficult to go up against them if you aren't familiar with the process.
How to Sue the VA With DoNotPay
DoNotPay is an AI-powered app that helps you take your case against the VA to small claims court with ease. It takes the risk of not knowing the law out of the process and ensures all documents and requirements are met.
The problems of differentiating state laws, how much money to ask for, how to negotiate, and what to accept are all taken care of with a few simple mouse clicks.
Here's how simple the DoNotPay process is:
- Log in to and select the Sue Now product.
- Enter the dollar amount you are owed.
- Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms.
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable details, including photo proof.
Don't risk your future by going it alone. Let DoNotPay help get the compensation you need.
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