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What You Need to Know about Suing the United States for Injuries or Death

The United States owns and operates motor vehicles, hospitals, healthcare clinics, office buildings, and roads. The United States owns and operates the James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Northport VA Medical Center, Syracuse VA Medical Center, Albany VA Medical Center. When a federal employee is negligent and causes injury to another in the course of employment, the United States is liable for money damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Before a lawsuit can be started a notice of the claim must be sent to the agency responsible for the injury. For example if the claim involved a postal truck, the notice must be sent to the US Postmaster; if the claim involved a VA hospital the notice must be sent to the Veterans Administration; if the claim involved a federally funded healthcare clinic, the notice must be sent to the US Department of Health. The notice of claim requires a detailed statement of the nature of the claim, damages, injuries, theory of liability and amount of money damages demanded. The agency will review the claim and decide whether it should be paid or rejected. If the claim is rejected a lawsuit can be started in the Federal Court against the United States within two years of the date the claim arose. The case is heard and decided by the judge; there is no right to a jury trial.

It is not well known that many healthcare clinics which provide for the poor are federally funded, and are subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act. These clinics and the doctors who were negligent cannot be sued in state court. An administrative claim must be filed with the US Department of Health. If the claim is rejected the lawsuit can only be filed in the Federal Court.

Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP has been successful in lawsuits against the United States. It had represented a young woman who had a congenital hole in her heart. She had been under the care of a healthcare clinic which originally was private, but then became federally funded. The doctors at the clinic were negligent in not doing the necessary tests to diagnose this problem in response to her complaints of shortness of breath. Had her condition been diagnose early her heart could have been surgically repaired. Since it was not diagnosed in a timely manner she suffered serious injury to her lungs. She sued the doctors and clinic in State Court who negligently treated her before the clinic received federal funding, and the United States in Federal Court for the negligence of the doctors who treated her after it received federal funding. The United States settled for $3,000,000 and the insurance company for the clinic settled for $500,000.

Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP represented the estate of a veteran who sought treatment at a VA hospital for chest pain. The doctors diagnosed his condition as a muscle strain and failed to administer a stress test to determine if he suffered coronary artery disease. He was discharged from the hospital and died soon thereafter as a result of coronary artery disease. The administrative claim was rejected by the Veterans Administration. A lawsuit was started in the Federal Court and settled for $800,000.

If you have been seriously injured as a result of the negligence of the United States Weisfuse & Weisfuse LLP can help you get the money damages you deserve.

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