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Malpractice payouts reach 12-year high for veterans

New Mexico residents have the right to trust in the care of their doctors and for veterans of the U.S. military living in New Mexico, the same rights exist. Serving in the armed forces is a huge commitment to the nation and to a career and the ability to receive proper medical care as a veteran is something that should not be questioned.

A recent news report indicates, however, that veterans are just as vulnerable to doctor errors as their civilian counterparts. Statistics in the article show a 28 percent increase in payouts of medical malpractice lawsuits from 2011 to 2012 on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 400 payouts totaling $91.7 million were to be paid in 2012 as a result of both judgments and settlements. That is the highest amount in 12 years.

One of the largest single payouts was to a veteran in Pennsylvania who went in for some dental extractions and ended up suffering a stroke after the procedure which left him with permanent disability. His incapacitation has left him in need of care around the clock. Other instances of doctor negligence includes missed diagnosis, incorrect body parts being worked on and delayed treatments.

What can seem like a small medical error can have long-term impact. Anyone, whether civilian or veteran, who suspects that they have been the victim of a medical mistake may wish to consult with a medical malpractice attorney to understand their rights and ensure they are able to receive proper compensation.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Veterans’ Medical Malpractice Costs Rising As More Soldiers Seek Care,” Kathleen Miller, September 13, 2013

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