The doctrine of sovereign immunity protects the federal government from certain types of lawsuits by citizens. Under this doctrine, the federal government cannot be held accountable for criminal or civil legal wrongs. However, what happens when the federal government is responsible for harm suffered by a citizen? This is where the Federal Tort Claims Act comes into play.
About the FTCA
As noted above, sovereign immunity applies to the federal government. However, pursuant to the FTCA, citizens may pursue claims against the United States in the case of certain types of civil wrongs.
Liability Under the Federal Tort Claims Act
Under the FTCA, citizens can pursue negligence claims against the federal government. In order to file a claim, your claim must
- be based on negligence;
- be against the federal government, not independent contractors hired by the federal government;
- be permissible in the state in which the injury occurred; and
- pass through administrative channels before you file your lawsuit.
Common Claims Under the Act
Common types of claims people bring under the Federal Tort Claims Act include
- Accidents occurring on federal facilities or property or facilities;
- Medical malpractice by Veterans Administration doctors; and
- Traffic accidents involving federal agents.
How to File a Claim Under the Act
Before filing a lawsuit under the Act, you must first file an administrative claim with the government agency that allegedly caused your injury. Each agency has procedures in place to review the claim. Although you can use any form of document, the preferred method for submission is the Standard Form 95. Many agencies, such as the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (“VA”) post instructions and copies of the SF-95 on their website. You must do this within two years from the date your injury occurred.
Damages Under the Act
If you succeed in your claim, you may be entitled to damages. However, the law places limitations on the damages you may be entitled to if you are successful. For example, you may only sue for the number of damages claimed in your administrative claim unless other damages are discovered after the fact. In addition, you may not seek punitive damages against the United States.
Contact a Georgia Federal Tort Claims Act Attorney Today
At Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson, we have years of experience filing claims on behalf of victims of the federal government in personal injury cases. When you come to us for assistance, we will utilize our extensive experience in handling Federal Tort Claims Act matters to build the strongest case possible for you. Our Federal Tort Claims Act attorneys understand the ways that injuries impact victims and their families, so we will do everything in our power to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.