Tillis unveils bipartisan bill to require better VA management of veterans’ legal claims

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) on Nov. 10 introduced a bipartisan bill that seeks to improve legal recourse for United States military veterans who file claims against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“This bill ensures that veterans have the information they need to receive justice, whether they were treated by a VA employee or a contractor,” Sen. Tillis said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill signed into law.”

Sen. Tillis is the lead cosponsor of the Brian Tally VA Employment Transparency Act of 2020, S. 4883, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), which would prescribe the notice the VA must provide when a person submits a claim for damage, injury or death on Standard Form 95, according to the congressional record bill summary. 

Specifically, the VA must provide to the claimant, within 30 days after the claim is submitted, notice of the importance of securing legal counsel, and the employment status of any individual listed on the form.

Additionally, if the claim involves a contractor that entered into an agreement with the VA, the department must provide the claimant notice of the statute of limitations regarding the claim in the state in which the claim arose, according to the summary.

The measure is named in honor of U.S. Marine Veteran Brian Tally, who was unable to file a medical malpractice claim against his doctor because the VA did not inform him — until after the statute of limitations had passed — that his doctor was a contractor and his claim had to be filed in state court, leaving him without legal recourse, according to information provided by Sen. Tillis’ office. 

“Our veterans deserve the highest quality of care, regardless of where they receive that care or who provides it,” said Sen. Tillis. “Unfortunately, medical malpractice remains an issue at hospitals across the country, and veterans should have due process rights if they experience malpractice.”