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Suing the Federal Government for Negligence

Suing the federal government negligence

The doctrine of sovereign immunity, is a common law concept that began in the era of Kings. Intended to protect monarchs, it prohibits suing the government for their negligent and reckless actions. This hasn’t changed, but laws have been passed that will allow some lawsuits against the government. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was signed into law in 1946, and permits private parties to sue the United States in federal court for negligent or reckless acts committed when acting on behalf of the federal government. If you’ve been injured as a result of the negligence or recklessness of a government employee, it’s important to work with an experienced California federal court attorney to get the highest amount of monetary compensation for your injuries.

 

What Types of Claims Are Allowable?

The FTCA allows claimants to sue for property damage, personal injury, and wrongful death due to negligent or reckless actions of federal employees, if a similar action is allowable by state law in the jurisdiction where the incident happened. It’s important to understand that this limits lawsuits against government employees to acts committed in the scope of employment. For example, you can sue a postal worker that hits you in the rear with their truck while delivering mail, but you can’t sue this same worker for an accident while she’s buying groceries, even if she was driving the mail truck. FTCA prohibits lawsuits for intentional acts such as false imprisonment, defamation and assault, but there are other laws that can be used in these cases. You cannot sue the government for negligent or reckless acts committed by independent contractors working on government projects, but you can usually sue these persons and entities directly. These laws and exceptions are complicated, that’s why it’s wise to hire an experienced California federal court attorney who knows how to help you get the highest possible amount of compensation.

 

How California Federal Court Attorneys Handle Cases

The first step is to file a claim with the appropriate federal agency. This should be done as soon as possible, but must be filed within two years. This is not the same thing as filing a lawsuit. It’s an administrative claim that is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit if the claim cannot be settled with the government agency. If the agency does not make an offer of settlement, or you are not satisfied with the offer, you have six months from that decision to file a lawsuit. There are many other provisions of federal law that must be carefully adhered to in order to collect a substantial amount of monetary compensation for personal injuries. It’s important to work with a California federal court attorney to get the best results. Serving Turlock, Modesto, Merced, and Monterey, California. Please call today for a free consultation.

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