VA Settles Wrongful Death Suit Over Iraq War Veteran

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was sued for wrongfully causing the death of an Iraq War veteran. According to an article on, a settlement offer has been accepted in the case, but the details to that settlement haven’t been disclosed.

The suit was originally filed by Randy and Judy Pilgrim against the VA medical center in Waco following the death of their son, Lance, in August 2007. They were seeking over $75,000 in damages.

Lance Pilgrim was a veteran suffereing from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to his parents, Lance’s PTSD was caused by his military service during his tour of duty in Iraq. He sought treatment at the Waco VA medical center for:

  • drug addition; 
  • severe depression; and
  • suicidal tendencies.

According to the lawsuit, medical personnel at the Waco VA were well aware of Lance’s problems, and were told to not perscribe hydrocodone to him. On August 14, 2007, Lance was prescribed hydrocodone and then released from VA care 2 days later. On August 18, 2007 Lance died from an overdose of hydrocodone and methadone.

The suit claimed Lance died because of the VA’s “failure to hire adequate staff and train existing staff.” The VA staff not only gave Lance a prescription for hydrocodone, but released him from his PTSD care program prior to ensuring he was properly stabilized.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from Veterans Help Group is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-855-855-8992.