Calculation of damages: disability rating.

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§ 45.8 Calculation of damages: disability rating.

(a) In general. For certain purposes relating to calculating damages for a member in a claim under this part, DoD will use the disability rating established in the DoD Disability Evaluation System under DoD Instruction 1332.18[1] or otherwise established by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to assess the extent of the harm alleged to have been caused by medical malpractice. This rating is stated as a disability percentage under the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) under 38 CFR part 4 or a successor provision. Under 10 U.S.C. 1216a, DoD is required to use the VASRD for assessing the degree of disability of a member under the Disability Evaluation System. DoD will use it for purposes of this part as well. A VASRD-based disability percentage represents the Government's estimate of the lost earning capacity attributable to an illness or injury incurred during military service. A Service member medically separated or retired through the Disability Evaluation System may receive distinct DoD and VA disability ratings. DoD will consider disability ratings, to the extent DoD deems pertinent, for other purposes relating to calculating damages, such as calculating loss of earning capacity and non-economic damages.

(b) Disability rating procedures.

(1) If a claimant disagrees with the disability rating received in the DoD or VA disability evaluation or claims processes, the member must pursue the appeal opportunities available within the DoD and/or VA to change the member's disability rating.

(2) In any case in which a member has filed a claim under this part and also has a disability determination pending under DoD or VA disability evaluation or claims processes applicable to determinations or appeals, DoD may, in its discretion, hold in abeyance the claim under this part pending the outcome of the disability evaluation or claims process. DoD will notify the claimant that his or her claim is being held in abeyance.

(3) In any case in which a member has not yet received a DoD or VA disability evaluation because the member is retained on active duty, DoD will use the VASRD as the standard for assessing the degree of disability of the member relevant to the member's claim under this part.

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