Can You Sue the United States Government for Personal Injury?

A lady justice statute next to law books and a gavel.

You may have heard that the government has immunity against lawsuits. However, federal laws allow victims of negligence to pursue financial recovery. When an accident involves a federal government employee, the victim may claim compensation.

There are different rules for bringing a case involving the federal government as compared to bringing a claim against anyone else. However, as an accident victim, you have rights. Our attorneys for government personal injury claims in Tampa want you to understand your rights.

Suing the United States Government for Personal Injury

Yes, you can sue the United States government for personal injury. The laws that apply in the state apply to the case. However, the timeline to sue is set by the Federal Tort Claims Act. You must bring your claim within six months and provide advanced notice of the claim.

A victim of negligence because of federal actions can sue the United States government for personal injury. However, the victim cannot claim interest or punitive damages.

The Federal Government and Negligence

When you’re injured because of the actions of a U.S. government employee, suing the federal government for negligence is an option. The Federal Tort Claims Act is the law that gives victims the right to bring a claim against the federal government.

The courts process the claim just like the defendant is any other party in the court. You have the right to a trial. Suing the federal government is a way for you to receive financial compensation when you’re the victim of an accident involving the federal government.

Federal Tort Claims Act – Authority to Sue the Federal Government

The United States government wants negligence victims to be able to claim compensation when they’re hurt because of an accident. If the federal government has fault for the accident, the victim has the legal right to financial compensation.

The old rule of sovereign immunity stated that there could be no lawsuits against the federal government. However, lawmakers decided that it was unfair for victims to have no way to receive the compensation they deserved when they were hurt in an accident. As a result, lawmakers passed the Federal Tort Claims Act. The law gives victims the right to pursue compensation for their injuries.

What Laws Apply to Negligence Cases Against the Federal Government?

The laws that apply to negligence cases against the federal government are the same laws that apply in the state where the accident occurs. When lawmakers passed the Federal Tort Claims Act, they had to decide what rules apply to the case. They chose to use the laws of each state, depending on where the accident occurred.

For example, if the accident occurs in Tampa, that state laws of Florida apply. The United States defers to the state law even if this means that cases are not decided in the same way throughout the United States.

Florida Laws for Suing the Federal Government in Tampa

Because state laws apply to lawsuits against the federal government in Florida, it’s essential to understand what the rules say. Florida law protects negligence victims by allowing them to sue for compensation when they’re hurt because of the actions of others. The steps to prove a right to payment for a claim against the government are as follows:

  1. Duty – The government agent had a duty of care towards others
  2. Breach of Duty – The agent failed to live up to the duty of reasonable care
  3. Causation – The breach of the duty of care is the cause of the accident
  4. Damages – Because of the accident, the victim suffers damages. This usually means physical injuries.

Compensation For a Federal Government Lawsuit

The damages that you can claim for a lawsuit against the federal government are similar to the damages that are available in any negligence lawsuit. There are some important things to know when it comes to compensation for a federal government lawsuit:

  • You can claim compensation for medical care
  • Pain and suffering compensation is allowed
  • Economic and non-economic damages are allowed
  • Punitive damages are prohibited
  • Interest on damages is prohibited
  • The damages that you receive are unique to your case; a victim has the right to fair compensation based on their actual losses

Summary of Rules for Suing the Federal Government

There are unique rules when it comes to suing the federal government. Here are some of the things to be aware of when a claim involves the United States as a defendant:

  • The case goes to the United States District Court in the location where the accident occurs
  • Even though the case is in a federal court, the local state laws apply
  • The applicable laws are similar in every state; however, damage limitations may apply in some states but not others
  • You must provide notice to the United States government before you actually file a claim. That gives the government the opportunity to settle even though there isn’t a formal claim in court
  • Particular time limitations apply. You have six months to file after the federal government responds to your notice. If you miss this deadline, you may not be able to recover

How to Maximize Your Claim Against the Federal Government

When you’re hurt because of an accident that involves a federal agent or employee, there are things that you can do to maximize your claim. It’s important to understand that you have a right to bring your claim, but the victim must prove what compensation they deserve. They have a right to full compensation under the law that applies.

An experienced personal injury attorney for federal lawsuit claims can help determine what you stand to receive in compensation and what you can do to assert your rights.

Attorneys for Federal Government Lawsuits in Tampa

Jack Bernstein and our attorneys for federal government lawsuits in Tampa are dedicated to helping each and every accident victim. We are well-versed and experienced in the special circumstances involved when a case is against the United States government. When you’re an accident victim, you deserve compensation. That’s why we fight on behalf of our victims every day. Call or message us to get started with a free evaluation of your case.