Articles Posted in Federal Tort Claims Act

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Three Veterans Die by Suicide in One Week at VA Facilities 

Veterans advocacy groups are pleading for the inspectors general of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services to promptly begin a joint investigation after three veterans took their own lives at VA facilities in just one week. According to VA representatives, since 2017 the department has tracked 260 suicide attempts at its facilities, with 240 of those having been interrupted.

As many as 20 veterans are dying by suicide each day. This is a tragically preventable number that reflects one and a half times higher than the civilian population’s suicide rate. Obviously, this group of American heroes is pleading for help.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that a Gurnee family was recently awarded $30 million after a judge ruled in favor of the Illinois family’s claims that medical negligence during a childbirth caused the child to be a quadriplegic. The Illinois birth injury lawsuit alleged that medical negligence was committed by federally employed physicians who were at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago when their son was born in 2003.

The Illinois family’s lawyers stated that an infection started before the mother went into labor, but she was not given necessary antibiotics. Then, during the first few hours of life, the child showed “red flags” related to having an infection, but the infection went untreated. The infection unfortunately traveled into the child’s bloodstream and eventually into his brain. The result of the Illinois medical negligence during the childbirth was permanent brain damage. The Chicago birth injury lawsuit alleged that had the doctors followed the standard of care, the child would have been born a normal baby boy instead of a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.

The attorneys at Levin & Perconti are unfortunately all too familiar with Illinois birth injury lawsuits. Birth injuries are a category of medical malpractice claims and lawsuits that arise when babies are injured at birth or before birth by careless or intentional acts of a healthcare provider. The birth injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti have extensive experience with birth injury lawsuits and injury lawsuits under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Like in the Gurnee family’s case, many of the places we go and spaces we inhabit each day are owned by the federal government and operated by its employees. Victims like the Gurnee family have the right to seek restitution from the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Several people, including two children, were personally injured in a traffic crash involving three cars and a Chicago fire department ambulance on the Northwest Side of Chicago. After assessing initial reports, none of the personal injuries seemed to be life threatening. Three people were taken to area hospitals and are in serious-to-critical condition with personal injuries while two children were taken to Children’s Memorial hospital. Others, including two fire department personnel, were in fair-to-serious condition with personal injuries. According to preliminary reports, the ambulance was heading eastbound on Addison when it struck a vehicle heading south on Menard. The southbound vehicle then flipped over and slid into a vehicle heading north on Menard. At some point another vehicle rear-ended the northbound vehicle and fled. The ambulance was en route to a hospital with two patients. The two patients were then placed into another ambulance after the automobile crash and taken to the hospital. They are reported to have minor personal injuries from the automobile crash. To read the full story, click here.

A packed Chicago Transit Authority bus erupted into flames Sunday night as it traveled along Lake Shore Drive. The CTA driver failed to stop the flaming bus for at least a minute after the rear engine caught fire, despite warnings from passing cars and pleadings from petrified passengers. Potential for serious injury was high because the bus was traveling at full capacity. Luckily, however, the only injury was reported after a man was taken to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation. There is no word yet whether any of the passengers will file a law suit in the matter.

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What is the best way to measure a doctor’s competency? A new program in New York will allow major insurance companies to rate doctors in the same way restaurants and movies are rated. Naturally, the health insurance industry is concerned about costs and will likely base its ratings primarily on the cost of care. The New York program does require the health insurance providers also utilize national standards and guidelines to rate doctors. The natural focus on cost, which is the reality in any business, begs the question whether the size and number of medical malpractice settlements and verdicts will factor into the ratings system.

For a recent editorial on the plan click here.

After the horrific Interstate 35W bridge collapse this summer, families affected by the tragedy are learning the compensation allocated to victims may not be enough. Take, for example, Paula Coulter, whose family was injured as their care tumbled onto the bridge collapse. Paula’s days consist of physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and recreational therapy due to brain damage sustained during the bridge collapse. For this family, with medical bills already toppling $380,000, the $300,000 cap allocated to each individual involved in the crash will not be enough.

A personal injury lawyer was allowed back into the U.S by a customs agent despite being red flagged by the Department of Homeland Security. The lawyer contracted the rare disease while traveling abroad for his wedding and honeymoon. This particular strain of tuberculosis is extremely resistant to standard antibiotics and requires immediate treatment. Knowing that his life was in jeopardy, the lawyer cut his honeymoon short and immediately took a flight to Canada. He then rented a car and crossed the border into the U.S. A customs agent allowed him to cross despite being notified by his computer that this person should be detained. Fellow flight passengers are currently being tested for the infectious disease. If tests results come back positive, a lawsuit may be brought against the government for allowing this infectious person to fly. The lawyer is being held at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado for treatment.

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