You may consider suing the Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital if you have been the victim of medical malpractice, or another action that has caused your harm. If you or a loved one have suffered serious personal injuries as a result of the negligence of this federal agency, you may be in the right to bring a claim against the Department of Veterans Affairs.
If the negligent healthcare provider in your case committed malpractice at a VA hospital, the case may be governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA is a federal law that allows plaintiffs injured by the negligent acts of federal employees to file claims against the United States for damages. If not, you can still attempt to sue them in Small Claims court.
If you are a person or employee who has a problem with this federal agency, this guide will show you how to file an FTCA claim and also, sue them in small claims court.
Dispute can help you generate, notarize and file a small claims case within minutes from your phone or computer.
What Can I Do to Make a Complaint Against the VA
If you are working with the VA, you have several options for seeking out a solution to your dispute with the organization:
- Meditation: The VA will discuss the issue with you and try to come up with a resolution. The method is a fast and cheap way of resolving disputes.
- Make an Official Complaint - The VA has several official channels to reach them. You can call their customer service team at 1 (800) 698-2411. You can also reach out to them on their official website.
- File a Tort Claim - You can file a federal claim against the VA using the previously mentioned FTCA claim. This is done using Standard Form 95, Claim for Damage, Injury or Death. The statute of limitations for filing this claim is two years from the time of injury.
- Sue in Small Claims Court - Small Claims court is a fast, cheaper way to sue another person or company for money. Often, lawyers are not allowed (saving you money on representation) and many states let you sue for up to $10,000. A judge will hear out your argument, review your evidence and they can order the other party to compensate you.
How to Take Action in Small Claims
One of the most accessible legal forums is Small Claims Court, where you can sue a company or individual for up to $10,000 in most states without the need for a lawyer. Small Claims Court offers you the opportunity to explain your complaint to a judge who has the power to order the other party to pay you the money that is owed.
In addition, Small Claims Court has additional benefits for the layman seeking legal action:
- Small Claims Court Processes and procedures are generally simpler to follow than other more formal courts
- Small Claims Court Filings are cheaper than filing in other courts
- Lawyers are not usually allowed in Small Claims Courts.
- The process is fast. You can usually expect a hearing within 1-2 months after your filing.
Types of Legal Disputes Against the VA :
You may want to think about the reasons you considered suing the Department of Veterans Affairs. In the past, people have sued for the following reasons:
- Personal Injury - As a medical organization, the VA is responsible for certain standards of treatment. If you were harmed under the care, you may have a case.
- Claim Denied - The VA governs benefits for veterans in the United States. If they deny a claim that should be covered, costing you money, you may have a case.
- Limited Resolution - If the government has only afforded you a partial resolution to an incident (such as poisoning), you may seek additional retribution through civil court.
How to Sue the VA Yourself
It's important to note that the process can vary from state to state. But typically, suing in small claims court involves the following:
- Identify the organization and its Registered Agent: Knowing the Veteran Affairs' official name and address will help you contact the right organization. You can find this information online. Identifying the registered agent will also help identify who you'll have to serve.
- Write and Send a Demand Letter - Many courts ask that you send (and show proof) of a short, one-to-two-page formal request that lets the recipient know that they’ll face legal action if they don’t comply.
- Fill Out the Court Forms - Each court has different forms required to file a case with them. Some states (such as California) have one form that covers the whole state, while others (such as Florida) have different forms depending on the location of the court. Don't forget you'll need to sign these forms and possibly have them notarized as well.
- File the Forms with the Court - You'll need to either access their online portal or head to the courthouse directly to file your completed forms. Often, the court asks you to bring multiple copies so they can distribute the filing appropriately and they always charge some type of filing fee. The price of this fee varies ($25 - 400 depending upon the courthouse) and it can be awarded back to you if you win the case.
- Serve the Defendant - If your case is accepted, most courthouses will ask that you "serve" the other party. This means you are notifying the defendant that a hearing is going to occur and the reason for it.
- Attend your Hearing - After all that is said and done, you'll want to prepare for court and then attend your scheduled hearing where you'll present your case. Hopefully, the judge is empathetic toward your issue, and rules in your favor.
You may notice that even if filing in Small Claims Court is easier, it can take up a lot of your time. That's not to mention the time you may lose repeating a step or two if you accidentally do something wrong.
Whereas, if you use Dispute, you can generate a demand letter and small claims document within minutes from your phone or computer. We will connect you with the right forms from the courthouse you choose, and even file them on your behalf.
How to Sue the VA Using Dispute
Here’s how you can file a small claim case with Dispute in a few easy steps:
1. Head to our website to access our software:
2. Click "Get Started" and choose the "Small Claims" service (or another if you'd like to start somewhere else).
3. Enter your case information including your info, the defendant's info and a summary of the issue.
4. Choose the courthouse where you want to file, answer their form's specific questions, and sign the document.
Now you're on your way to preparing and filing a case directly with the court from your phone or computer.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is the Registered Agent?
- The Registered Agent may vary depending on who you're filing against, and where you are filing. It's best to check with the Secretary of State's database wherever the business is registered to check for this information.
Do I need a lawyer for Small Claims Court?
- Not necessarily. One of the easier things about small claims court is that lawyers aren’t usually required. This may make the small claims process less intimidating and more affordable. But, still, the small claims process can get complicated. Consider filing through Dispute, as we simplify the small process with our software.
How much does it cost to file a Small Claims Case?
- Court Filing Fees: The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit depends on how much you are suing for and where you are suing. You can expect to pay between $30 to $400 to file the lawsuit. _If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees. _Dispute charges a small fee to help generate, sign and/or file any documents on your behalf.
- Serving Costs: Once the lawsuit is filed, you must notify the company that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $20-100 depending on the local area.
If you have any questions about filing a small claims case against the VA or accessing Dispute's software, please reach out and contact us.