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What recourse does my son have against the army for failure to treat a back injury?

Williamsburg, VA |

My son is in the Army and was rear-ended by a civilian driver off post. He went to the emergency room and was told to go to clinic the next morning. He has repeatedly told me that he in excruciating pain. They gave him a muscle relaxer and ibuprofen but he could only take the muscle relaxer after he got off work. He went back 6 times to tell them that he was still in pain. They finally sent him to the scoliosis clinic. X-rays were taken where they found that he has kyphosis. He was also told that he has a muscle that runs from his skull to his tail bone and it is splintering. He has been undergoing physical therapy but it isn't helping. He can't get in to see the dr who ordered the x-rays until Wednesday, next week and it might be 4 weeks before an MRI. What can he do?

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Filed under: Personal injury
Attorney answers 4


Is the kyphosis related to the accident (possible) or does your son suffer from some other disease (also possible) and the accident is merely coincidental? If his doctors can confirm the cause of his ailments, a personal injury attorney may be able to recommend his to someone for help.

By responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and Garrett Law Group, PLC. Responses should be considered and used for informational purposes only. Every case is unique in its facts, and all legal matters should be discussed with a licensed attorney prior to making any decisions or taking any actions.

James Donald Garrett

James Donald Garrett


I disagree with the other responses. I don't think the Feres Doctrine (which bars active duty military from suing the military) has anything to with the case. You were struck by a civilian driver, off-post. That is where you should look to recover for any injuries, not the army doctors who may have misdiagnosed you.


Feres doctrine


He is barred from suing the military based on the Feres Doctrine.
He needs to be talking to a Patient Advocate at the hospital, filing an IG complaint, and communicating with his Congressional delegation.;; 703-298-9562, 800-401-1583. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Your son cannot sue--he is forever barred from bringing a patient care suit as Attorney Cave explained, he can demand proper care--his should involve his chain of command immediately, hospital patient affairs (or similarly named office at the hospital designed to act on patient complaints--could be called the Hospital Ombudsman's office). In my experience, his Battalion CO can shake up events at the hospital when one of his/her soldiers isn't being properly taken care of--that is frequently the best and fastest option for immediate relief.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.

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