What is Military Medical Malpractice?

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  • Written By: Charity Delich
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 May 2018
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Military medical malpractice occurs when a patient has suffered harm as a result of a military healthcare provider’s negligence, such as failure to administer drugs in accordance with acceptable industry standards. Some countries do not allow an injured active military member to sue in these cases. As a result, a plaintiff is typically someone who is retired from service or a family member of active military personnel. In general, a claim surfaces when the plaintiff has been treated at a military facility or veteran’s hospital. Since these hospitals are normally considered government agents, the injured patient usually files the suit against the government in order to recover damages.

An attorney who files a military medical malpractice case on behalf of his or her client must often adhere to specific procedural requirements in bringing the case. For example, in the United States, a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) sets forth very precise conditions that must be adhered to when filing the suit. As a result, a plaintiff should ensure that he or she has hired an experienced attorney to handle the case.


In general, proving a military medical malpractice claim requires the plaintiff to show that a healthcare provider acted negligently in treating him or her. This involves proving that the provider owed the plaintiff a duty of care and that the provider breached that duty. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the breach of duty caused his or her injury. The provider can defend him or herself by arguing that the plaintiff hasn’t proven one of these elements or by offering an affirmative defense.

In some jurisdictions, before a plaintiff brings a military medical malpractice case, he or she must first submit the claim to the government. The government is then allowed to investigate and seek resolution of the case for a time period specified by statute, such as six months. If an agreeable settlement isn’t reached, then the plaintiff normally has the right to file a complaint in court.

Once a military medical malpractice claim is brought, the parties usually engage in discovery. During this process, the parties may be required to produce any relevant documents, such as medical records, and interview witnesses. The plaintiff may also be required to complete an independent medical examination, in which a neutral doctor will corroborate the physical injuries that have been alleged. Following discovery, the parties may enter into settlement negotiations. If these negotiations are unsuccessful, then the parties normally proceed to trial.



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