Claims against the Federal Government in CaliforniaUpdated on Thursday 20th April 2017
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Individuals involved in accidents caused by government or military officials or that happen on government property need to file a lawsuit against the federal government – a process that is not as straightforward as a lawsuit against a regular individual who caused a car accident, for example.
A Los Angeles personal injury attorney is able to help you if you have been involved in such an accident. An individual can only sue the government only in certain cases and under the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you and advise you regarding the steps you should follow in order to take legal action.
The Federal Tort Claims Act
The law stipulates that an individual can take legal action against the federal government only if he is allowed to do so. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) contains the main provisions for these types of cases and before filing any lawsuit you should know exactly if your case is one of the approved ones.
The federal government can be held liable for damages caused by a federal employee who acts negligently or wrongfully. A lawsuit can be filed only when the accident or damage is caused by a federal employee and not by an independent contractor who was acting on behalf of the government. One example of such an accident would be a car or motorcycle accident with a U.S. Marshall.
The statute of limitations for claims against a Government entity or a state one is different from the usual time limit imposed in California for filing a personal injury lawsuit. The notice of claim must be submitted by the plaintiff within six months after the injury took place. The usual time frame to take legal action for claims against another individual or company is two years from the date of the injury.
The Government will either accept or decline the submitted notice of claim. The usual time period for this response is 45 days. If the Government agency does not respond within this time limit then that plaintiff may have two years from the date when the accident took place to file a court lawsuit.
The following video summarizes the process for making a claim against the Californian Government and offers some advice to claimants:
Filing a lawsuit against the federal government
Any claims against the federal government are brought to the District Court in your city of residence or where the accident occurred. There are strict procedures to follow when making such a claim and the FTCA stipulates that individuals should first submit their claim together with a standard form. One of our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can help you fill in this form so that you can include all the relevant information for your case. It is important to know that the claim needs to be different, depending on which Government or Federal agency is liable for your injuries. We can also help you determine to which governmental branch you need to submit your claim to.
The amount of damages you can ask for during a lawsuit against the government are limited to the amount first described in the application form. Individuals cannot ask for punitive damages in these cases.
For more information and examples of successful cases, you can contact our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys.