What is a Federal Tort Claims Act case? These may be claims against any one of the many agencies of the United States government (U.S. Postal Service, the Veterans Administration, U.S. military personnel, Department of the Interior, etc.) Claims caused by motor vehicle accidents, slip, trip and falls, other injuries on government property, medical malpractice, and many other types of injuries are covered by this law. There are several hundred different federal agencies potentially covered by the FTCA.
The United States government owns more than 250,000 motor vehicles excluding postal and military vehicles.
The General Services Agency (GSA) owns and leases over 9,600 building in more than 2,200 communities in the United States. These include office buildings, courthouses, post offices, laboratories and other structures. There are approximately 100 post offices in Allegheny County and over 2,000 in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has 18 National Park Service units, one national monument, one national forest, two wilderness areas, one national recreation area, seven national historic sites and two national historic trails. More than 9 million visitors attend Pennsylvania’s national parks and monuments each year.
These United States government motor vehicles are driven by government employees who are subject to the same distractions and mistakes that any driver can make. If you are in a car accident caused by a federal government employee, you would have to make your claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The large number of buildings, parking lots, post office properties, national parks and other properties of the United States government can be the cause of a slip, trip or fall injury; or any other type of injury caused on the property by a defective condition. These claims may be subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The Veterans Administration has approximately 60 medical facilities in Pennsylvania. The medical treatment at any one of these facilities can result in a medical malpractice claim. These claims may be subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Before 1946, Americans could not sue the United States government for personal injury, wrongful death or property damage. Americans had to persuade members of Congress to pass a special law on their behalf for each claim. This was not always successful. The Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) permits individuals to bring claims against the United States for numerous types of injuries caused by employees of the United States while in the performance of their job. Claims such as automobile accidents, medical injuries arising out of care and treatment in a federal facility, falls and many other injuries are brought under the FTCA.
The United States government treats persons that their agencies and employees injure much better that does the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania only allows claims in certain categories and places limitations on the amounts of damages that can be recovered. There are no such damages limitations under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
AFTER AN ACCIDENT
There are a number of steps which must be followed. There is a two year statute of limitations for these claims. Before a lawsuit may be filed, an administrative claim must be filed with the federal agency employing the person whose negligence caused the injury. This administrative claim must include sufficient information to allow the agency to investigate the claim and must include a sum certain amount of damages sought. The amount asked for is an important part of your claim. Once you demand a certain amount of money to settle the claim, it cannot be increased. Because of this and other procedural traps, be sure that your claim is handled by an attorney who has had an opportunity to fully evaluate your claim.