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NJ malpractice payouts to veterans, other states reach new high

NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. MEMBER

Veterans in New Jersey may be interested to hear that VA malpractice payouts have reached a 12-year high in the country, ranging from dentistry malpractice to surgical malpractice. According to reports, in 2012 alone over $94.1 million was paid out to veterans over VA malpractice suits, the highest amount paid in the last twelve years. Over 400 cases of malpractice cases from veterans and their families went to court in 2012.

Surgeries performed on the wrong body parts, misdiagnosis, and surgical debilitation are just some of the charges that were alleged in court cases against the VA last year. An attorney in New Jersey has said that younger veterans are often paid a larger amount in settlements, as their life expectancy is much longer than their older fellow soldiers.

While the number of veterans seeking treatment at VA hospitals continues to rise, the significant increase in malpractice payouts is reported to be primarily attributable to a lack of accountability, despite the stated mission of the VA to provide a high-level of quality care to its members. A spokeswoman for the VA made a statement via email stating that whenever employee misconduct arises, the VA takes affirmative action to correct the situation.

Veterans in New Jersey are entitled to receive many veteran benefits from the VA, including surgery and dental benefits. Most veterans are offered conventional medical care, including psychological and psychiatric care for post-traumatic stress disorder. A lawyer with experience in these matters may be helpful in determining the full range of benefits that may be available. Such an attorney may also be able to provide assistance in regard to other matters such as eligibility for assisted living costs where appropriate.

Source: Claims Journal, "Veterans Malpractice Payouts Reach 12-Year High on Taxpayer Tab", Kathleen Miller, September 09, 2013

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