We receive hundreds of inquiries regarding potential malpractice cases against the VA or military healthcare providers. Many of these are plainly not viable cases or there is simply nothing we can do to help. Those are easy calls for us. What is not easy are those cases where someone has tried to handle a case on his own but has not done so correctly.
Last week we received an inquiry about a case where the VA had misdiagnosed a veteran’s cancer. The delay was significant and it had impacted the patient’s prognosis. The material he provided to us was well organized and showed that his case was a good one. He had prepared an SF-95, the claim form, and it was more than adequately done. All of us were impressed by how he had put everything together. He was now looking for a lawyer to help him – a wise move on his part. Unfortunately, as careful as he had been, the claim was filed too late. It was only by a few weeks and it was easy to see his logic as to why he thought he was within the two-year limit. We reviewed it – and reviewed it again – but there was nothing we could do. There was no question that the veteran’s case was barred by the statute of limitations. Had this veteran contacted us in time we could have helped him and his family. As it was, there was nothing we could do and we had no choice but to decline to take his case.
Medical malpractice cases are not do-it-yourself projects. In some form or another, we see situations like this with some frequency. They break my heart, every time. It is such a needless waste. These cases require skill and experience to evaluate and prosecute. Even lawyers who don’t regularly handle malpractice cases are at a severe disadvantage. Lay people are virtually doomed to fail. Yet we see people try. Perhaps they are put off by the contingent fee. Sometimes that fee can end up being a big number, even within the limits applicable to FTCA cases. However, we earn our fees by using our expertise to our clients’ benefit. We’re not taking money from the client. Rather it’s our efforts that create the funds from which the client gets a recovery and we can take a fee. And there is risk on our part. Not every cases produces a recovery.
Whatever the reason may be for not wanting to use a lawyer, it is never a good reason. We handle FTCA cases all over the country and we’ve very good at it. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We want to help people. It’s our job and it is how we earn our livings, but I would rather see a potential client with a good claim go with a competitor than try to handle one of these cases alone. Get a lawyer to help you with your case.