B-245956, Apr 3, 1992

B-245956: Apr 3, 1992

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DIGEST: A former Army member's military records were corrected to extend his term of active duty. In the interim between his earlier discharge and later discharge he was injured in an accident caused by another party. His claim for reimbursement of his medical expenses due to the accident is denied since he received an insurance settlement which was intended in part to pay his medical expenses. Claim for Reimbursement of Medical Expenses: We have been asked to settle the claim of Kerry J. His claim is denied. Was void and that he remained on active duty until May 4. He was involved in an accident caused by another driver. Under the theory that due to the correction of his records the Army was obligated to provide medical care to him at the time of the accident and that the settlement he received from the insurance carrier should be available to him for future treatment and general damages.

B-245956, Apr 3, 1992

DIGEST: A former Army member's military records were corrected to extend his term of active duty. In the interim between his earlier discharge and later discharge he was injured in an accident caused by another party. His claim for reimbursement of his medical expenses due to the accident is denied since he received an insurance settlement which was intended in part to pay his medical expenses.

Kerry J. Dodge-- Claim for Reimbursement of Medical Expenses:

We have been asked to settle the claim of Kerry J. Dodge, a former member of the United States Army, for reimbursement of medical expenses he incurred due to a vehicle accident. For the reasons presented below, his claim is denied.

The Army Board for Correction of Military Records corrected Mr. Dodge's records to show that his discharge on October 13, 1983, was void and that he remained on active duty until May 4, 1984. On January 7, 1984, he was involved in an accident caused by another driver, as a result of which Mr. Dodge incurred medical expenses in the amount of $44,592.33. He signed a subrogation agreement with his insurance company under which he received $25,000 in settlement of his uninsured motorist claim. He settled his medical expenses in full with payment of $18,825.37 to his medical providers. Mr. Dodge claims reimbursement of the $18,825.37, under the theory that due to the correction of his records the Army was obligated to provide medical care to him at the time of the accident and that the settlement he received from the insurance carrier should be available to him for future treatment and general damages.

Under 10 U.S.C. Sec. 1552, the secretary of a military department acting with a correction board may correct the record of a military member to correct an error or remove an injustice. A member whose term of duty is extended by a correction action is entitled to pay and allowances and other pecuniary benefits, including medical expenses, to which he would have been entitled on active duty minus civilian earnings for the same period of time. See Lieutenant Colonel Louis D. Gaddini, AUS, B-195558, Dec. 14, 1979.

We have consistently held that where a member or his dependents incurs medical expenses which the government has an obligation to pay, but these expenses are paid to the injured party by a tortfeasor or an insurance carrier, the government has no obligation to pay the costs for which settlement has been received by the member or his dependents. Comp.Gen. 534 (1952) and B-158093, Jan. 26, 1966 and Aug. 10, 1966.

Thus, while Mr. Dodge was entitled to medical care from the government at the time of his accident by virtue of the correction of his record, we are not aware of any legal authority which would permit payment of his claim. He incurred medical expenses which were paid from the proceeds of his settlement with the insurance carrier.

Accordingly, Mr. Dodge's claim must be denied.