As of Jan. 1, 2020, active-duty military personnel and their family members can file a claim for malpractice by the military health provider. The Pentagon committee tasked with developing the formal process a malpractice claim against the Department of Defense will take is still working on it, but several claims have already been submitted.

Here’s what you may need to know about how things work:

Who can file a claim?

A member of the military or their surviving family members can file a claim for medical malpractice or wrongful death due to medical negligence by one or more health care providers employed in a military clinic or hospital.

Under the new rule, you only have two years to file a claim. (Those who file in 2020 are being allowed to look back as far as 2017, however, due to an exception.)

How is this new?

For decades, the Feres Doctrine prevented troops from suing the Department of Defense (DoD) over injuries or death related to their service. That rule was widely interpreted to include malpractice claims. However, recent efforts by military members who have suffered from medical mistakes have prompted new legislation on the issue.

Under the new law, military personnel and their families still can’t file a personal injury lawsuit against the DoD, but they can file a claim for compensation. Currently, $400 million is set aside for possible claims.

No matter where it occurs, medical malpractice can cost someone their life. A missed or delayed diagnosis, a careless moment in surgery or a poorly reviewed chart can lead to devastating results. If you or your loved one suffered due to a medical professional’s mistake, find out more about your legal options.