If you or a loved one has been injured by the acts of an employee of the federal government while acting in the scope of employment, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Generally speaking, the Federal government has sovereign immunity from cases, which means that the government can’t be held liable for its negligent acts in court. However, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) waives the government’s sovereign immunity for certain types of cases.
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You May Be Entitled to Compensation
The FTCA allows claims for damages “for injury or property loss, or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.” 28 U.S.C.A. Section 1346(b).
Under the FTCA you can make a claim for bodily injury as the result of a federal employee’s negligence. Claims for injury to soldiers and sailors related to their service are not permitted. Claims for assault, battery, and false imprisonment against non-investigative or law enforcement employees are also prohibited. There are other limitations including cases that arise from decisions that are policy related or involve agency discretion.
What Are Your Options in Missouri?
While there are several limitations on which suit can be brought under the FTCA, common claims that can be brought are cases involving negligent action of regular job tasks of federal employees. This can include car accidents, pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, premise liability on federal land, and other agency activities. A common example would be a postman driving his truck negligently, causing an automobile accident resulting in injury.
The FTCA claim process is complex and has both an administrative process and a court process. The administrative rules require documentation and timely filing of a claim. The claim must be filed on a form 95 with the agency whose employee caused the injury. The claim form requires specific information and documentation to be considered.
Whatever amount is claimed for the injury on the form 95 will be all that can be pursued in court, should the agency deny your claim. The claim must be filed within two years, although there are exceptions when it is obvious why or how you were injured. While the agency is considering your claim, you do not have an obligation to file suit.
If the claim is denied by the agency then a suit must be brought to federal court. After the agency’s denial the claimant has six months to file the suit in federal court. The federal court will apply federal procedural law and the state law on issues of negligence and damages, subject to the limits imposed by the FTCA. A judge, not a jury, will decide your claim.