If someone has been injured by carelessness at a military base, slipped and fallen at a Post Office, been the victim of negligent treatment at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, or been in an automobile accident with an FBI agent, what do they all have in common? The answer is that they all have a negligence claim against the federal government. If they want to recover for their injuries, their only option is to sue the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), and, unfortunately for them, suing the federal government is no day at the park.
When you sue the federal government, there are a number of hoops you have to jump through, and there is a confusing list of limitations that may apply to your claim. The premise behind the FTCA is based on the concept of sovereign immunity — you can’t sue the king. In modern times, this means that you can’t sue the government unless the government says you can.
If you think you have a claim for negligence against a federal agency or its employee, you need to first consult the FTCA to find out whether you can sue the government. There are too many limitations and exceptions to list here, but to name a few ? the negligence must have been done in the scope of the defendant’s employment, and the actor must be a federal employee and not an independent contractor.
If you meet this hurdle, you then need to follow the steps to file an administrative claim. You must file a claim with the federal agency responsible for the misconduct within two years of the incident. It’s usually best to have a lawyer help you file your claim since so much is at stake. The agency has six months to rule on your claim. It can admit that it was negligent and agree to pay you some money so that you need not go to court. Alternatively, it may deny your claim or not give you all of the compensation to which you are entitled. In that case, you have six months to file a lawsuit in court.
Posted in Personal Injury
Tagged federal tort claims act, Honolulu personal injury attorneys, negligence claims