Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, “FTCA”, certain types of lawsuits are allowed against federal employees who are acting within the scope of their employment.
What is the Federal Tort Claims Act?
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) permits individuals to sue the government for certain claims of negligence, careless conduct, or wrongful actions against a federal agency or employee. The FTCA was carried over from the original doctrine of “sovereign immunity” established in England that forbade individuals from suing the king. Under the same premise, individuals are not allowed to sue the federal government, unless the government permits it under the FTCA.
State governments share the same sovereign immunity concerning lawsuits as the federal government, but state laws vary according to their own set of laws under the “Tort Claims Act.” Nevada has strict guidelines and specific Tort Claims rules that must be followed when filing an injury claim against the state government.
Filing an FTCA Claim
The FTCA allows compensation for injury, property loss, or death caused by negligent or wrongful actions or careless conduct of any government employee. However, there are numerous limitations and restrictions on FTCA claims including:
- FTCA claims can only be filed against federal employees. Independent contractors hired by the federal government can’t be sued, unless they are treated like employees under federal employment rules.
- Any negligent, careless, or wrongful act must have been done within the scope of the defendant’s employment, and the claim must be ruled and permitted by laws in the state where the negligence or misconduct occurred.
- The FTCA only allows negligence claims, but some claims for intentional misconduct may be allowed against federal law enforcement officers.
- FTCA claims do not allow liability for punitive damages or interest accrued prior to judgment. Federal and State law may impose certain limitations on liability.
- The Supreme Court limits the application of FTCA claims involving branches of the military.
All FTCA claims must be filed with the appropriate federal agency within two years from the date a claim arises, or it may be rejected. A claim must include the exact dollar amount of damages claimed, as well as sufficient information about the case to merit a federal investigation. If the federal agency rejects the claim or refuses to pay demanded damages, a lawsuit must be filed through an injury attorney within six months after the agency’s decision, or it may be dismissed as untimely.