$20M Settlement Reached Between Veterans & VA Over Stolen Computer Data

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reached a $20 million settlement with veterans who sued the VA in several class action lawsuits after a VA laptop computer containing the names, birth dates and social security numbers of over 25 million veterans was stolen in 2006.

Settlement details

The $20 million settlement resolves several class action lawsuits between veterans and the VA. The laptop was eventually recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who claims that the personal information contained on it did not appear to be compromised.

However, many of the veterans involved aren’t so sure and have spent the last three years monitoring their credit reports to avoid fraud and identity theft. The VA said that it decided to settle the case to avoid additional litigation. Settlement funds will be distributed to military personnel and veterans who were harmed by the loss of personal data, either through emotional distress or through costs incurred in monitoring credit records. To contact the VA, visit their website at http://www.va.gov/.

More bad news for VA

The settlement is only more bad news for the VA. Only two weeks ago, the Associated Press reported that nine patients at VA medical centers in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Durham North Carolina and Marion Indiana were seriously injured after being given incorrect doses of medication because of a glitch with a newly installed computer system. The VA kept the matter to itself, which only seemed to anger vets and veterans’ rights groups further. All told, VA patients in approximately 50 facilities across the country may be affected by the computer error.

Whether any medical malpractice claims will materialize over the issue is still unknown. However, it’s important for all veterans to realize that veterans medical malpractice claims generally follow different rules than traditional lawsuits. For example, VA claims are not heard by a jury, only a judge. In addition, getting access to your records may be more difficult than obtaining them from a private hospital; and when those records do arrive, legal experts say that they are often incorrect. That’s why it’s important to have experienced representation.

If you’ve been injured due to medical negligence at a VA facility, contact an experienced veterans medical malpractice attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.

Back To Library Index