Should I sue the VA

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Should I sue the VA

After I left the military, I had a psychotic break, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia by the VA. I carried that diagnosis and its stigma me with me for 10 years. I lost friends because of that diagnosis, and did not have an opportunity, because of that diagnosis to get a full honorable discharge upgrade.

I repeatedly asked the VA to check for injuries in my head, but I think they just ignored me because of my diagnosis.

I paid out of pocket and got a nuerologist to check my brain with a spect scan, and he diagnosed me with psychotic disorder as a result of Traumatic Brain Injury, and he said I don’t have schizophrenia.

Do I have grounds to sue the VA?

Asked on December 11, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may not be able to sue. First, an error is not necessarily malpractice: malpractice is when the medical care is negligent or unreasonable careless. But if the diagnosis was a reasonable one at the time, based on then-current medical knowledge and practice and your symptoms, etc., then even though it was wrong, it was not malpractice. The law accepts that medicine is not perfect and mistakes are sometimes made; only if, as stated, the diagnosis was unreasonable under the circumstances might it be malpractice. So you would need to be able to show that the diagnosis was not merely wrong, but unreasonable.
Second, and more imporantly, based on what you write, it is too late to bring a malpractice case. In your state, you can only file or initiate a malpractice lawsuit up to two years after the injury or harm (e.g. the incorrect diagnosis) was or reasonably *should* have been discovered, and in no event, more then five years after the alleged malpractice. If the diagnosis was 10 years or so ago, then it appears it is too late to file or bring a lawsuit, based on your state's statute of limitations and statute of repose for medical malpractice claims.
 


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