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How does FTCA Apply in Nursing Home Negligence or Abuse Cases?

Posted on behalf of Harbin & Burnett on May 22, 2014 in Nursing Home News

Just as family members of nursing home residents must be vigilant about their elderly loved ones care, employees of assisted living facilities may, at times, need to blow the whistle on their companys method of operations.

Nursing homes run by the government, such as those in the VA system, are subject to federal tort claims when they fail to appropriately manage funds from programs like Medicaid and Medicare, or fail to follow the regulations that properly address patient care and needs.

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) a patient who suffers injury or death because of negligence or abuse in a government-run facility has the right to bring a claim for damages. Invoking the FTCA is the primary means of an individual filing a claim against the government in nursing home abuse cases. Individuals involved in the alleged negligence, such as hospital administrators, or doctors, will not typically be held liable. Instead, the government is the only entity whose liability is in question.

Recent evidence of secret waiting lists at one Phoenix VA hospital may have led to the deaths of 40 veterans and countless others whose injuries were worsened by the actions of negligent VA agents. In these instances, the veterans or their surviving family members may have the right to sue the government under the FTCA.

That said, criteria must be met for eligibility in FTCA claims. To sufficiently demonstrate liability and a rightful claim to damages under this act, the plaintiff must show that:

  • There was, in fact, injury or damage done by an employee of the federal government;
  • The injury or damage was during the employees official duties;
  • The actions of the employee were harmful or negligent;
  • The negligence or wrongdoing caused the injury or harm that came to the plaintiff

Any veteran who is not on active duty that suffers abuse or negligence at the hands of a government-operated facility may file a claim under the FTCA. These facilities include VA-run nursing homes, military hospitals on and off-base, or other federally supported clinics.

Active duty military are precluded from filing FTCA claims, according to a precedent set by the Supreme Court. In the event that a veteran sustained an injury because of government negligence during active duty, they are still not permitted to file an FTCA claim if the symptoms of that injury manifested after they were discharged. However, family members of active duty military are able to sue if the service member was injured at a government-run facility.

If you believe you or someone you love has a claim under the FTCA, contact Harbin Law for a free legal consultation today.

Fill out our online contact form or call 1(888)821-0247 to take the first step today.

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