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FEDERALTORTSCLAIMACTWhatYouNeedToKnowNow
Written by Joel S. Rosen, Esquire

Joel S. Rosen is a partner with the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth PC and is widely regarded for his litigation skill and experience. He specializes in product liability cases, representing individuals who are catastrophically injured as a result of defective and faulty products.

WhenanindividualisinjuredduetothenegligenceofanyemployeeoftheUnitedStates whoisactingintheirroleasagovernmentemployeeatthetimethenegligenceoccurs, thentherecanbeaviablecauseofactiononbehalfoftheinjuredperson. Thatlawsuitis broughtnotagainsttheindividualemployee,butagainsttheUnitedStatesgovernment undertheFederalTortClaimsAct. Whetherthedefendantworksatafederallyownedand managedhospital,isapostalemployee,orworksatanumberofotherfederalagencies, theseareallclaimsthatmaybefiledundertheFederalTortClaimsAct. Inthesecasesitis imperativethatalloftherequirementsofthestatutearefollowedtotheletter. Ifnot,you mayloseyourclaimduetoaproceduralmisstep.

TheFTCA,28U.S.C.Sec.1346(b),makestheUnitedStatesliableforcertaininjuriesifaprivateperson wouldbeliableinaccordancewiththelawoftheplacewheretheinjuryoccurred. Itspecificallystatesthat theUnitedStatesisliableforinjury,lossofproperty,personalinjuryordeathcausedbythenegligentactor omissionofanyemployeeofthegovernmentwhoisactingwithinthescopeofhisofficeoremployment, undercircumstanceswheretheUnitedStates,ifaprivateperson,wouldbeliable. Therearelimitstowhat kindofcasescanbebroughtundertheFTCAthatarespecifiedinSection2680ofthestatute. Damages undertheFTCAarenotlimited,butinsteadtheclaimantmayrecoveranydamagesallowedunderthelawsof theplacewheretheinjuryoccurred. Punitivedamagesarenotallowedunderthestatute. InordertobringaclaimundertheFTCA,theinjuredpersonmustfirstpresenttheirclaimtothe appropriatefederalagency. Thisadministrativeclaimmustbefiledwithintwoyearsoftheincidentthat gaverisetotheclaim. Eachagencyhasitsownregulationsgoverningthefilingoftheseclaims. However, thereisastandardclaimform95thatisadequateforproperlyfilingtheseclaims. Byfillingoutthisformand carefullyansweringallthequestionscontainedinit,aninjuredpartywillbemeetingthenoticerequirements oftheFTCA. Itisstillextremelyimportanttofillouttheformcorrectly,includealltherequiredinformation andattachmentsandthensendittotheappropriatepersonattheappropriateagency. Rememberthat untimelyservice,improperservice,orafailuretoincludetherequiredinformationcanleadtotheclaim ultimatelybeingthrownoutofcourt. Itisequallyimportantthatasufficientamountofdamagesare detailedwhentheadministrativeclaimisfiled. Alateractionfiledincourtmaynotbemadeforanamount inexcessoftheclaimpresentedtothefederalagencyunlesstheincreaseisbaseduponsomenewly discoveredevidenceorproofofinterveningfactsrelatingtotheamountoftheclaim. Inotherwords,you willlikelybelimitedinyourlawsuittotheamountoftheinitialadministrativeclaimthatyoumade.

Oncetheadministrativeclaimisfiled,theinjuredpartymustwaittofilesuituntileithertheagency rejectstheclaimoruntilsixmonthspasswithoutarejection. ThesuititselfisfiledintheU.S.DistrictCourt wheretheplaintiffresidesorwherethenegligentactoccurred. TheappropriatedefendantistheUnited StatesofAmericaandnotthespecificagencyoremployeeofthatagency. Thereisnorighttoajurytrialin anFTCAclaim. ThecasewillbeassignedtoandheardbyafederalJudgesittingintherelevantdistrict. ThegoodnewshereisthataninjuredpartycanobtaincompensationfortheirinjurieswhenaU.S. governmentemployeeisatfaultinmanyinstances. Theonlybadnewsisthattherearealotoftrapswaiting outtherefortheinexperiencedlitigator. TheFTCAisananimaluntoitself,anditsrulesmustbestrictly followedinordertomaximizeyourchanceforasuccessfuloutcome. / ForadditionalinformationpleasecontactattorneyJoelS.Rosenat1.888.375.7600orvisitourwebsiteat cprlaw.com.

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