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When Can You Sue the Federal Government?

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) lets you file a damages claim arising from a federal entity’s negligence. A successful injury claim needs to follow specific steps that the FTCA has laid out. Learn more about what you can sue for and what to keep in mind before you initiate legal action.

Claims Permitted By the FTCA

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FTCA claims usually provide monetary compensations for injury or property loss due to an act of negligence from government employees. Such claims are, however, subject to different limitations and exceptions. For one, you can only sue federal employees and not independent contractors working for the federal government. The negligent act also needs to have taken place within the employee’s scope of employment. The FTCA doesn’t allow claims on intentional misconduct but only focuses on negligence. State laws also play a role in the success of your application. You’ll need to base your claim on the state’s statutes where the negligent conduct took place.

Filing Your Claim

If you think you may have a valid claim, your first move should be to file your complaint with the responsible agency. Applications under review at the federal agency are usually known as “administrative claims.” Use Standard Form 95 (SF 95), the federal government’s standard claim form, to prepare your claim. The federal agency in question should provide this form when you request a copy.

How to File Your Claim

Ensure that you file your administrative claim within two years from the time the negligent conduct occurred. With the SF 95 form, you should have no problem providing precise details on the money damages and facts of the incident to validate your claim. Include witnesses to the event, the nature of the injury, time, and date of the incident. You can also identify your legal representative on the SF 95 form. Your attorney will help you process the paperwork correctly. The federal agency will then respond in favor of or against your claim within six months.

Initiating a Lawsuit

Once the agency gives its verdict, you’ll have six months to initiate your lawsuit if the claim is rejected. The federal court listens to cases of claimants pursuing money damages from the government once they exhaust their administrative remedies. You should then file the lawsuit in a court that covers the jurisdiction where the incident occurred.

If you have an injury from a government employee’s negligent act, the team at Leav & Steinberg LLP can provide legal counsel on the best course of action. We offer in-person client meetings and won’t charge any attorney fees until your case is closed. Contact us to request a free consultation.

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