Federal Tort Claims Act
Waiver of Immunity for Injuries Caused by the Government
Historically, the United States government claimed immunity from being sued in civil court. The Federal Tort Claims Act, the Military Claims Act and the Foreign Claims Act effectively waive that immunity and open the door for people injured on account of government actions to sue the government for compensation. The Federal Tort Claims Act allows private citizens to sue for financial compensation for torts committed by employees or agents acting on behalf of the government. The Military Claims act is almost identical, except it applies to injuries to United States citizens overseas, and the Foreign Claims Act applies to injuries to foreign people that occur overseas.
Between these different acts of legislation, injured parties can bring a lawsuit in almost any situation or location that they could against a civilian defendant:
- Personal injury and property damage: In general, civilians can bring a lawsuit against the federal government if employees, active duty military, mailmen and other government workers cause personal injuries or property damage in course of their employment. The federal government is liable to the same extent that a private citizen would be in the same circumstances according to the law of the state in which the lawsuit is commenced.
- Medical malpractice, hospital negligence and ER errors: The government is liable for injuries that occur on military bases, the majority of which involve malpractice and hospital negligence injuries to dependents of military personnel on bases and to veterans in the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) hospitals.
- Car accidents and motorcycle accidents: Although many people don’t think of it, the U.S. Army and Navy combined for more than 25,000 accidents in 2000. This makes sense as so many military personnel are young adults between the ages of 18-25, the most dangerous driving demographic.
- Plane crashes and ship collisions: When a military plane goes down, especially if it is due to pilot error or air traffic control errors, the government is liable for the damages caused by its agents’ negligence. It is common for people to be injured by the federal government in plane, bus, or train accidents.
Virginia Federal Tort Claims Act Attorney
Experience with Federal Tort Claims Act litigation
We have two lawyers on our staff who worked as judge advocates in the Army and Navy, respectively. This experience is a tremendous asset for the firm’s Federal Tort Claims Act litigation practice.
David Morgan is a former Navy JAG who spent five years in the Federal Torts Claims Act litigation department. Under his leadership, his team settled more than 10,000 cases, totaling in excess of $290 billion, including several extremely high-dollar environmental lawsuits.
Joe Cravens as an Army Judge Advocate served two years as the chief of medical claims for the Southern Command and litigated over 68 million dollars in medical malpractice claims. He also served 2 years on the Risk Management Committee and Credentialing Committee, Gorgas Army Hospital.
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