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Governmental Negligence

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) became law in 1946 allowing private citizens to sue the U.S. government for negligence in federal court. By passing this law, the immunity of the federal government against such legal action was removed. The law also establishes the conditions which can lead to such a lawsuit. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls the FTCA the “legal mechanism for compensating people who have suffered personal injury by the negligent or wrongful action” of U.S. government employees. These employees may work at any federal governmental agency, such as the U.S. Postal System, a Veterans hospital, or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), among others.

Many types of mistakes may be made by federal employees. Examples include errors made by air traffic controllers resulting in airplane crashes, medical malpractice committed by a VA hospital doctor or employee, or a traffic collision involving a postal vehicle. Mistakes made by federal employees resulting in a claim may lead to legal compensation in valid cases. Specific exceptions to the Act, however, have been made by Congress invalidating certain claims situations. Six requirements must be met for a federal tort claim to be considered. These include:

  • The claim is brought against the United States
  • For money damages
  • For injury to or loss of property, or personal injury, or death
  • Caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of a federal government employee
  • While acting within the scope of his or her office or employment
  • Under circumstances where the federal government, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant according to the law where the incident took place

The Federal Tort Claims Process

A tort claim against the federal government must follow a specific procedure and can be a complicated matter. A lawsuit against the government cannot ensue without first submitting an administrative claim to the appropriate federal agency within a specific time period. If the federal agency denies the claim or fails to respond to it within six months, then the lawsuit can be filed and can proceed. This procedure means that the appropriate agency must be identified and found. It also means that you must determine what information to present and how to present it.

This complex procedure is best handled by an attorney who thoroughly understands the federal tort claim process. At Bottar Leone, PLLC you can depend on a legal team that has the requisite knowledge and experience to assist you. As an example of our firm’s in-depth understanding of this legal matter, Attorney Michael A. Bottar has published an 84-page guide called “A Desktop Guide to Federal Tort Claims Within the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.”

Talk to a New York Federal Tort Claims Attorney about Your Case

Because you have a limited time to file a federal tort claim, it is important to consult with a capable attorney at the firm. We can determine if you have a valid claim against the federal government and help get your legal case under way with required documentation. As skilled litigators who have been helping clients in personal injury matters for three decades, your claim will be handled in the most professional manner. Contact us at (315) 313-6809 or (888) 979-1689.