The loss of a loved one is always a tragedy, but when the loss is caused by medical negligence, the tragedy grows exponentially. Unfortunately, these kinds of losses happen everyday. In fact, a new report suggests that in the last decade the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA), has paid nearly 1000 families for wrongful death claims . Pennsylvania readers may find this blog on medical malpractice and the VA interesting.
It was recently reported that in the decade following the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Veterans Affairs paid out more than $200 million in wrongful death claims. The recently released data stems from a report issued by The Center for Investigative Reporting. The report shows that most of the money that was paid for claims went to approximately 1,000 families, including more than 30 families living in Pennsylvania.
The reasons for the wrongful death payments vary dramatically. Some cases involved veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who committed suicide after the VA turned them away. Other cases involved much more common allegations of medical negligence and malpractice such as the failure to properly treat conditions such as cancer, missed medical diagnosis, surgical errors and fatal neglect involving elderly veterans.
Whenever someone is killed due to the negligence or reckless actions of another person, the surviving members of the deceased's family have the right to sue for wrongful death. To establish a civil action for wrongful death, the plaintiff must generally establish that a death occurred, it was due to the negligent action of another party, and the surviving members of the decedents family suffered damages as a result.
Source: Philly.com, "VA pays out $200 million for veterans' wrongful deaths," Aaron Glants, April 3, 2014