“Can you sue the government?” is a question that can come up as a result from a variety of different accidents. You may wonder this if you’re injured on government property or involved in an accident that was with a government official. The short answer to the question is usually no. The government falls under a leftover version of sovereign immunity, meaning they can’t be sued by private individuals. However, there are some cases that can be included in the Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA, that allow individuals to sue government employees who were at work at the time of the accident. This is often for negligence. Here is some of what’s involved in these types of cases.
Federal Tort Claims Act
FTCA allows you to make a claim against a federal employee or agency who acted with negligence that led to your accident and injury. Your claim must fall within the parameters of the FTCA in order to proceed, otherwise it will be blocked by the government’s sovereign immunity. To succeed with a claim, you must follow the rules and regulations regarding them. Failing to due so could lead to an unsuccessful claim.
Who the FTCA Covers
The parameters for a lawsuit come down to who was acting negligently and where. If a federal employee acted carelessly while on the job and caused the accident, you may be able to sue them. You cannot sue an independent contractor who was hired by the government because they are not technically federal employees. Cases of intentional misconduct are usually not included, so negligence can be your only argument. You must also check that your claim fits and is upheld by the laws of your state.
Filing a Claim
You must file your claim within two years of the accident and injury. The claim must first be filed with the agency that you are suing. The exact cost of damages has to be included in the claim, as well as evidence to your claim of negligence. The agency can then accept your claim and pay you, or it may refuse it, in which case you have six months to file a lawsuit.
Contacting a Lawyer
These cases can be tricky, particularly because they involve so much extra legal jargon surrounding the federal government and individual state laws. Talking to a lawyer about your situation can help them determine if your claim falls under the FTCA and if you can proceed with it. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Melbourne, FL, like Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC to have your questions answered.