A Brief Summary of the Federal Tort Claims Act

A Brief Summary of the Federal Tort Claims Act from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Inarguably, it is pretty easy to sue a private citizen or a corporation as a whole. But, when it comes to suing a federal government entity for damages in a personal injury claim, you have to go to hell and back. As a matter of fact, under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, an individual is not even allowed to sue a government entity without that government’s permission. Due to this rule, The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) is considered an extremely complicated law. FTCA allows particular types of lawsuits against a federal government entity as well as federal employees – such government entities and employees must have performed the injury-inflicting action within the scope of employment. However, you have to follow certain strict rules even with that permission.

That is why when you are planning to file a lawsuit against a government entity; you have to ensure that you consult and hire the attorneys that sue the government on a regular basis. The experience such attorneys have can genuinely help your chances of winning the lawsuit. 

Federal Tort Claims Act Procedures

The first issue you need to foresee is determining whether or not the Federal Tort Claims Act even applies to your suit. If the specifications do not align with the ones permitted under FTCA, the doctrine of sovereign immunity will bar the claim – resulting in your lawsuit being thrown out. Moreover, keep in mind that the FTCA authorizes monetary compensation to be rewarded when injuries are inflicted by government employees’ wrongful (or negligent) actions. However, it is necessary for the state’s law (wherever the alleged unlawful act occurred) to permit the claim.

Once the court confirms that FTCA applies to your suit, you can move on to the next step. And that is filing an administrative claim. An administrative claim needs to be filed against the federal agency blamed for the act of negligence. Take this for an example, suppose a postal service truck hits you while you are outside. Then, you would file the claim with the United States Postal Service. In fact, the federal government provides a check-the-box claim form that you can use for such a claim. Again, however, it is much better to get a lawyer with experience to get justice.

Provide Relevant Information

You are not required to provide a claim under the FTCA. Still, Standard Form 95 can assist you in determining which relevant information you need to present to notify the agency properly.

The claim, as well as facts and damages, must be filed as soon as you can. Make sure you file them within two years from the time the claim occurs, though. Additionally, remember that certain states tend to have a shorter statute of limitations for personal injuries and multiple entities as compared to other states. So,  it may even be necessary to file within a specific amount of time.

Once you have successfully filed your claim, the agency has approximately six months to respond under the rules of FTCA. There are two outcomes; either the federal agency agrees that your claim is reasonable and pays some or all of your damages, or rejects your claim and refuses to pay for the damages. In the latter case, you have another six months to decide to file a lawsuit against that agency. 

Amount of Total Damages

It is better to overestimate the number of total damages when filing your FTCA claim. This is because there is a possibility that you may not even be aware of your total damages before the claim is due, especially if you continue to receive medical treatment for the injuries caused by the negligent act.

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