New law may make medical malpractice cases easier for veterans

If you live long enough, it is almost inevitable someone else will accidentally hurt you. In some cases, this is simply an experience that may be worth more than it costs. In others, that may have to be taken literally, as the only way to recover from injuries caused by someone else is to collect financial damages.

One of the most traumatic types of injury is medical malpractice, when a physician or health care professional causes illness, injury, permanent disability or death to someone under their care. Since doctors must take an oath to protect the safety and health of their patients, these events are almost always accidents. The point of damages often comes down to who is legally responsible for the consequences.

Some legislators in Washington are pushing for a new law that allows veterans to sue the government for medical malpractice. This would be allowed in the case that military personnel or resources were involved in the malpractice. Soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines do not currently have that right after a Supreme Court ruling in 1950.

The legislation is named after a soldier with lung cancer that was missed in an Army physical. The condition was diagnosed six months later by a civilian specialist. This law would affect thousands of people in Pennsylvania, a state with a high population of veterans who may have suffered medical problems without necessity.

People struggling after injuries or illness caused by someone else have the right to claim reimbursement of medical expenses as well as compensation appropriate to the pain and suffering caused by the accident. An attorney can help advise on negotiation, mediation or a lawsuit in civil court.