Can You Sue The U.S. Government for Negligence?
If you or a family member have suffered a serious personal injury as a result of the negligence of a government employee or agency, you may ask, “can I sue the United States government?” The answer is yes, you may be able to bring a claim against the U.S. government and receive compensation for your losses. But suing the government for personal injury can be a difficult and complicated process. Those who achieve the best results usually do so when they seek the assistance of attorneys who are experienced with this type of case from the outset.
Our firm handles a wide range personal injury cases against the United States government. Many of the cases we handle are medical malpractice cases. We often represent military service members and veterans, but our firm represents anyone who has been injured by the federal government. Our firm is also actively representing individuals with Camp Lejeune claims.
As our track record and case results suggest, we are experienced in this field and have been able to help many clients recover damages from the government. To discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced member of our team, contact the law firm Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC today.
Suing the Federal Government After an Accident
The federal government, its employees and agents are responsible for many personal injuries each year. Many of these are caused by traffic accidents involving a federal government vehicle such as:
- Military vehicles or convoys
- U.S. Postal Service mail transport trucks
- U.S. Postal Service letter carrier vehicles
- Other government agency vehicles (FBI, DEA, ATF)
The federal government is also responsible for injuries that happen at federal venues, also known as premises liability accidents. These cases involve situations where the government failed to make reasonable effort to maintain safe conditions for visitors. Those who are hurt due to unsafe conditions in federal government buildings (e.g. post offices, museums, courthouses, office buildings, etc.) may be wondering, “can I sue the federal government for personal injury?” The answer is yes, provided you follow the proper procedures which includes timely presenting an administrative claim first.
Property Damage by Federal Employees
Negligence of federal government personnel can also damage property. If a U.S. Postal Service truck collides with other vehicles in an accident, the owners of those vehicles can sue the government for property damage. If federal park rangers setting controlled burn fires lose control of them and homes are destroyed, the homeowners may seek restitution from the federal government for the damage to the homes and their contents. These are just two examples of cases in which the U.S. government may be liable for property damage under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)
Do you need permission to sue the government? No, but you must comply with the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act. In 1946, Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act which allows plaintiffs injured by the negligent acts of federal employees to file claims against the United States for damages. Our firm has a national FTCA practice and has represented many clients in cases against the US Government.
Suing the government for personal injury or property damage is not an easy process. Before you can sue the U.S. government for personal injury, you must present an administrative claim within 2 years of the date of negligence to the appropriate federal agency. After the claim is filed, the U.S. government has a minimum of six months to take action on the claim before suit can be filed. During this time, the government usually conducts an investigation on the matter and may or may not offer the plaintiff a settlement.
If, after six months, the government takes no action or if a settlement is not reached, a suit can be filed in federal court. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may have to comply with additional state laws before you can file your case, depending on the jurisdiction. Talk to your lawyer about what conditions must be satisfied before bringing a lawsuit against the U.S. government. You have a limited amount of time in which to file suit in federal court and if you don’t file in a timely manner, you forfeit your right to sue.
Attorneys for Suing the U.S. Government
If you have been injured by a U.S. Government employee, the Federal Tort Claims Act is your only recourse. It is usually better if you work with a law firm to present your administrative claim because there are many details of the law that a non-lawyer may not be aware of in presenting an administrative claim. You can lose valuable time or unknowingly make mistakes that limit your recovery. Your safest bet is to consult with a law firm experienced in handling FTCA cases and work with them to present the best administrative claim possible. Don’t delay because the more time your law firm has to review the file and prepare your claim before the statute of limitations expires, the better.
Everyone wants to know how to sue the government and win. There is no simple formula for victory. When it comes to suing the federal government, the best strategy is to gather as much information as possible and work with the most experienced, knowledgeable attorneys you can find. The lawyers at Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC have decades of experience filing FTCA claims, negotiating with federal attorneys, and trying cases in federal court. Call us today for a complimentary consultation.