Federal Tort Claims Act 101

This article, Federal Tort Claims Act 101, will give you the basics of this important tool to protect the rights of you and your family. The Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) is the primary legal tool to hold the U.S. government responsible for negligence committed by its employees or agents.

What are the basics of the FTCA? As a general rule, the federal government cannot be sued for negligence. The FTCA is important because it removes the federal government’s otherwise-expansive immunity for certain types of tort claims. Under the FTCA, the federal government is responsible for the negligence of its employees while they are acting in the course of their employment. While the United States can be liable for a range of torts, the government can raise defenses to dismiss cases that most defendants cannot raise. 

What are Common Examples of FTCA Cases in Georgia?

The FTCA permits individuals or, in some cases, their loved ones to bring cases in several areas. Common examples of FTCA claims include:

  • Army, Navy, or Air Force Medical Malpractice. Family members of servicemembers frequently receive treatment at medical facilities located at or near military installations. Patients injured by negligence or medical malpractice while receiving medical care may be able to sue the United States under the FTCA for their injuries.
    • In Georgia, there are a number of major military facilities that provide care:
      • Eisenhower Army Medical Center (Augusta, Fort Gordon, Georgia)
      • Martin Army Hospital (Columbus, Fort Benning, Georgia)
      • Winn Army Hospital (Hinesville, Fort Stewart, Georgia)
      • Naval Branch Health Clinic (Kings Bay, Georgia)
      • Robins Air Force Base Hospital (Warner Robins, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia)
  • Veterans Affairs (VA) Malpractice. Millions of veterans seek care at VA medical facilities, trusting VA providers to care for a wide range of conditions. Veterans injured at a VA facility may file an FTCA claim for medical malpractice.
    • In Georgia, there are a number of VA facilities:
      • Charlie Norwood Augusta VA
      • Uptown Augusta VA
      • Ray Hendrix Statesboro VA
      • Savannah VA
      • Carl Vinson Dublin VA
      • Waycross VA Clinic
      • Hinesville VA Clinic
      • Brunswick VA Clinic
      • Tifton VA Clinic
      • Perry VA Clinic
      • Macon VA Clinic
      • Albany VA Clinic
      • Covington VA Clinic
      • Athens VA Clinic
      • Atlanta VA Hospital
      • Atlanta-area VA clinics
  • Government Vehicle Accident. Anyone who is injured by a vehicle operated by an employee of the United States, while they are acting within the scope of their employment, can pursue a claim under the FTCA. Unfortunately, individuals may be injured by military vehicles, postal trucks, and other government owned vehicles. With the significant presence of federal facilities in Georgia, numerous accidents each year result in significant injuries to individuals by government personnel.
  • Premises Liability on Federal Property. Through the country, individuals will go near or on federal premises, such as military bases, courthouses, post offices, or other federal buildings. Persons injured on federal government property because of a negligent act by a government employee may file a claim under the FTCA.

The attorneys at Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson teach and instruct other attorneys on Federal Tort Claims Act 101 because they have experience litigating FTCA cases with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.  If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.