The Federal Tort Claims Act and Nursing Home Abuse
Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA,) anyone with knowledge of a company’s shady dealings or dishonesty may come forward with the information and be shielded against retaliation.
These cases are also known as “whistleblower” cases, and the person who “blows the whistle” may be entitled to a portion of the damages that are recovered by the government against the company in question.
One industry that is not normally considered in whistleblower cases is the nursing home industry. Like other types, though, government-run assisted living facilities must abide by strict regulations, especially when it comes to the use of government funds. This is where the FTCA might be the most applicable.
If an employee suspects misappropriation of monies the nursing home receives for programs like Medicare or Medicaid, they would be protected under the FTCA when revealing this information. However, financial fraud is not the only type of misconduct a whistleblower might report on. Nursing home abuse or negligence could be grounds for a claim, as well.
For a recent example of this we can look to evidence that the Phoenix VA hospital maintained secret waiting lists for patient appointments, allegedly caused the deaths of over 40 veterans and injuries to hundreds more who were never seen at the hospital.
Negligence on the part of the VA hospital and its agents could be grounds for an FTCA claim if the person coming forward needed protection from retaliation. However there is specific criteria which must be met for eligibility in FTCA claims. To sufficiently demonstrate liability and a rightful claim to damages under this act, the plaintiff must show that:
- There was injury or damage done by an employee of the federal government;
- The injury or damage was during the employee’s official duties;
- The actions of the employee were harmful or negligent;
- The negligence or wrongdoing caused the injury or harm that came to the plaintiff
There are also restrictions to who can file an FTCA claim in this case: any veteran who is not on active duty that suffers abuse or negligence at the hands of a government-operated facility would be able to do so. These facilities include VA-run nursing homes, military hospitals on and off-base, or other federally supported clinics.
Active duty military cannot bring FTCA claims, nor could a veteran who was injured due to governmental negligence if their injury became present after they were discharged.
However, family members of active duty military are able to sue if the service member was injured at a government-run facility.
If you believe you or someone you love has a claim under the FTCA, contact Inkelaar Law for a free legal consultation today.
Fill out our online contact form or call 1-877-537-4665 to begin your claim today.