According to Syracuse.com, a study published by The Project on Government Oversight suggests that Syracuse’s Veterans Administration Medical Center, also known as the Syracuse VA, has very few medical malpractice claims filed against it.
There may be a number of reasons for the low volume and size of claims against the Syracuse VA for medical malpractice. One explanation is that many veterans are not inclined to file a lawsuit against an entity that is providing ‘free’ medical care to them. Second, many veterans do not know that they have been injured by malpractice because they are advanced in age and/or are suffering from a constellation of disabilities stemming from their military service. Finally, claims against the Syracuse VA for medical malpractice are complicated because they are governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Many personal injury lawyers do not prosecute FTCA cases because they are not familiar with the administrative claims process or the technical requirements of a lawsuit in federal district court.
“We like the complexity of FTCA cases,” said Michael A. Bottar, a Syracuse-based attorney handling a number of VA medical malpractice lawsuits, as well as claims against the the Department of Health and Human Services. “In addition, many agencies, including the VA, do a pretty good job of resolving claims during the administrative review process. Sometimes a lawsuit is unnecessary.” This, of course, assumes that the attorney handling the FTCA claim knows what information must be submitted to the agency, how to submit it, where it should go, and when. “The FTCA can be a mine field for the uninitiated, as there are short deadlines,” Bottar added.