Governmental agencies and their employees are typically protected against lawsuits under the legal doctrine of “sovereign immunity.” However, the government agreed to waive some of these protections when it passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and allowed ordinary citizens to bring negligence actions against a government agency or a government worker when they are injured.
Unfortunately, the Federal Tort Claims Act also raised numerous legal obstacles to make recovery more difficult. For example, the Act requires that a potential plaintiff file an administrative claim with the appropriate federal agency before even filing a lawsuit.
Many people are unaware of this requirement and therefore their lawsuits are immediately dismissed. There are also strict time limits for filing a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident & Injury Lawyers has decades of experience with FTCA claims and will help you navigate these obstacles to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
In this Article
Does the federal government have immunity?
While the federal government is normally immune from lawsuits filed by ordinary citizens due to sovereign immunity, the 1946 Federal Tort Claims Act created an exception for accident victims who were injured due to the negligent acts of federal employees. The FTCA is broad and covers almost all personal injury claims against a government agency or government employee.
Examples of Accidents Caused By Federal Government Negligence
You may be eligible to sue the federal government for:
Slip and falls at federal buildings such as post offices, the Kluczynski Federal Building, and the Dirksen Federal Building.
Medical malpractice and neglect at Veteran’s Affairs Hospitals, including Jesse Brown Medical Center, Adam Benjamin Jr. Clinic, Auburn Gresham Clinic, Chicago Heights Clinic, Chicago VA Clinic, and Lakeside VA Clinic.
Boat accidents involving federally operated ships and boats.
How to Sue the Federal Government
Unlike ordinary personal injury claims, plaintiffs must first submit a Form 95 administrative claim with the federal agency that caused your injuries within two years of the date of the accident.
This is where things can get complicated. You MUST complete ALL entries of the Form 95! If you do not, it will not be considered a valid claim, and your case may not be able to recover anything.
Once the agency receives the claim, it has up to six months to decide whether to accept your claim and pay your damages demand or to reject your demand. If the agency rejects your demand, you may then file a claim in United States district court against the government agency or federal government employee who caused your injuries.
You only have six months from the date of the agency’s denial to file a request for reconsideration or a lawsuit. If you do not, your case will likely be barred forever.
We Are Ready to Help
The Kryder Law Group has significant experience handling Federal Tort Claims Act cases and will ensure that your claim is properly filed and that you meet all deadlines. You don’t have to face this government bureaucracy alone. Call today for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.
What do I need to prove?
Most lawsuits against the federal government fall under a negligence cause of action. To prove negligence, you must show that:
The defendant owed you a duty of care;
The defendant breached that duty; and
The defendant’s breach caused your injuries.
The defendant in federal tort cases will usually be the federal employee who caused your injuries. In addition, you may also hold their employer—usually a government agency—responsible as well.
To prove your case against the agency and their employee that caused your injuries, you will need to present admissible evidence in court. Federal courts require strict compliance with their rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence, so it is imperative that you contact your attorney to ensure you do not waive any rights when you sue the federal government.
Types of Evidence for a FTCA Claim
There are many different types of evidence that can be used in FTCA cases, including:
Photographs and videos
Medical records and bills
Your attorney will know what type of evidence is necessary to prove your case and will work with you to obtain it. Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC today for a free initial consultation so our law firm can help determine if you have enough evidence to prove your case against the federal government.
Are there time limits for suing the federal government?
Yes, there are strict time limits for suing the government for personal injury and negligence when you have been seriously injured. If you injured by a federal employee or in a federal building, you must submit your Form 95 administrative claim with the proper federal agency within two years. Otherwise, the agency will reject your claim, and you will have no right to file a lawsuit. There are few exceptions, and courts will dismiss any late claims.
We Can Review Your Case for Free
The experienced personal injury lawyers at The Kryder Law Group, LLC can help you determine if you have a case against the federal government and will ensure that your claim is filed on time. Contact our law firm today for a free evaluation to discuss your personal injury case.
Which federal agencies can be held responsible for my injuries?
Federal agencies are responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. If you have been injured due to the negligence or wrongful act of a government employee or injured on government property, you may be eligible to seek compensation.
Examples of Federal Agencies that Can be Held Liable
Some common government organizations that you may recover against are:
United States Postal Service
Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Justice
Department of the Interior
Department of Homeland Security
Federal Aviation Administration
Transportation security Administration
U.S. Marshal Service
Federal Bureau of Prisons
What are some examples of lawsuits against the federal government?
The federal government and its agencies are generally liable for the negligence of their employees. However, some cases may be protected by government tort immunity under the U.S. Constitution. Some common examples involve police brutality, prison abuse, and other instances where a person’s rights are violated.
In those instances, you must show that officials violated a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right. These include specialized rules from bringing complaints and burden of proof under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act.
Negligent or Wrongful Act Lawsuits
When you are considering suing the government for personal injury, you may want to know what sort of cases are considered to be valid claims. Some common negligence claims against the federal government include:
Motor vehicle accidents: These accidents most commonly involved United States Postal Service trucks. In these instances, you can hold both the driver and the USPS responsible.
Negligent maintenance: Trip and falls due to poor or negligent maintenance on elevators, flooring, stairwells, and parking lots can lead to serious injuries. The agency responsible for that building maintenance can be held responsible. In addition, you can also add any liable contractors, including private companies, as defendants if they caused your injuries.
Medical malpractice: Veterans and their families oftentimes wrongly believe they cannot recover against a VA hospital when they are injured due to a medical providers’ malpractice. However, like any negligence claim, veterans can sue the VA and any responsible doctors for their injuries.
What type of compensation can I recover in an FTCA lawsuit?
If you are successful in your negligence lawsuit against the federal government, you may be able to recover damages similar to other personal injury lawsuits. You can recover money damages from the federal government for the injuries you sustained. Jurors usually consider the following factors when awarding damages:
Pain and suffering associated with your injuries, including future pain and suffering.
Lost wages if you were forced to take time off or went on disability.
Medical bills for the medical care you received as a result of your injury. This also includes all associated surgeries, physical therapy, medical device (such as a wheelchair or prosthetic) and caretaking expenses.
Loss of a normal life, which compensates you for the things you used to enjoy but can no longer do because of your injuries.
Scarring and disfigurement, including scarring due to invasive surgeries.
What can an attorney do for me?
Our experienced personal injury attorneys will be able to guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit against the government and help you avoid missed deadlines and other pitfalls. Lawsuits against the federal government require an understanding of the Federal Torts Claims Act, the administrative procedures involved, and the rules and procedures of the federal court system.
How We Help Maximize the Value of Your Case
A personal injury lawyer from The Kryder Law Group, LLC can also help you by:
Identifying the correct federal agency or agencies to sue.
Determining if your case is barred by the FTCA’s statute of limitations.
Investigating your case and gathering evidence to support your claim.
Filing the necessary paperwork with the court and government agencies.
Advocating on your behalf throughout the lawsuit.
Handling all communications with the federal court, government agencies, and opposing counsel.
Negotiating a settlement on your behalf.
Taking your case to trial if necessary.
No one should have to go through the process of suing the government alone while recovering from serious injuries. The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident & Injury Lawyers is a law firm experienced in these matters and is ready to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve from the federal government.
Why You Need an Experienced Attorney When You Sue the Government
We will help you investigate your case, prepare administrative documents, gather evidence and interview witnesses, advocate for you in court, and negotiate against the federal government for a fair settlement. If the defendants refuse to come to the bargaining table, we will argue your theory of the case before a jury to secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
The Kryder Law Group works on a contingency fee basis, so we are not paid until you recover compensation for your injuries. Call today for free case evaluation. We represent seriously injured accident victims and their families.