Federal Employee Negligence Can Cause Personal Injury
Your personal injury attorney can deal with the procedural requirements for success in bringing a claim against the Federal government for injuries. The Federal claims are made for injury claims caused by Federal employees, acting in the course of their employment.
United States law sets out in the Federal Tort Claims Act the specific requirements for making a claim based on Federal employee negligence.
What Must Be Filed
The tort claim is made by sending a Form 95 to the correct agency. Although you can file a tort claim notice without using the form, there is no advantage to not using the form. The form must be filled in with the basis of the claim, and the amount of the damages. Note that the amount of damages set out in the form is a limit on the amount to be recovered, unless there is newly discovered evidence that was not reasonbly discoverable. As a result, the amount stated should be high enough to allow for an adequate award.
Time limit to file claim
If a Federal employee was negligent and caused injury or death, then the Federal Tort Claims Act provides a two year period to file a tort claim notice.
Denial of Claim
If the claim is denied by the Federal agency, then the lawsuit must be filed within 6 months after the denial is mailed:
28 U.S. Code Section 2401. Time for commencing action against United States
(b) a tort claim against the United States shall be forever barred unless it is presented in writing to the appropriate Federal agency within two years after such claim accrues or unless action is begun within six months after the date of mailing, by certified or registered mail, of notice of final denial of the claim by the agency to which it was presented.
No lawsuit before tort claim procedure
The injured party cannot file the lawsuit without first filing the tort claim notice:
28 USC § 2675. Disposition by federal agency as prerequisite…
(a) An action shall not be instituted upon a claim against the United States for money damages for injury or loss of property 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, unless the claimant shall have first presented the claim to the appropriate Federal agency and his claim shall have been finally denied by the agency in writing and sent by certified or registered mail. The failure of an agency to make final disposition of a claim within six months after it is filed shall, at the option of the claimant any time thereafter, be deemed a final denial of the claim for purposes of this section. …
(b) Action under this section shall not be instituted for any sum in excess of the amount of the claim presented to the federal agency, except where the increased amount is based upon newly discovered evidence not reasonably discoverable at the time of presenting the claim to the federal agency, or upon allegation and proof of intervening facts, relating to the amount of the claim.
In the civil action to recover for negligence by a Federal employee, only the United States is named as a defendant. The employee who was negligent is not named as a defendant.
No jury trial
The case will be filed in the Federal District Court. The trial outcome is decided by a Judge and not by a jury.
Federal tort claims have positive and negative factors. The positive is that the defendant, i.e. the United States government, can pay any judgment. The negative is that extra procedures apply, including the specific requirements for the tort claim notice. Not all attorneys have Federal tort claim experience. The case will be in Federal court, so your attorney should be familiar with the Federal procedures and the differences from State court procedures. Since the trial is decided by the Judge and not by a jury, the trial moves along quickly.
What to do next
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