Federal Tort Claim Act Accidents
The Federal Tort Claims Act is a law passed by the federal government that lets people injured by Federal Employees to seek compensation from the Federal Government. Whether you were in a car accident with a post office truck or slipped and fell in a federal building, how you get compensation will be governed by this law.
There are many similarities to a typical lawsuit. However, there are many differences that can be pitfalls for the inexperienced person.Notice
The first hoop that you have to jump through is that you have to give notice to the government, and then give it time to respond to your claim. The notice will be in writing. Then, you have to wait six months before going to court. It’s during this time that your lawyer will discuss settlement options with the federal government.
You also only have two years to file this notice with the government. While the Statute of Limitations in injury cases is normally three years, if notice is not filed within two years, your case may be dismissed.Standard Form 95
With the Federal Government, there’s always a form to fill out. This is no different with the Federal Tort Claims Act. Whenever you submit notice to a Federal Agency, you must include Standard Form 95.
This form is meant to give the government the information it needs to evaluate a claim. It asks for your personal information so that it can contact you. It also looks for information about the incident, including witnesses, so it can investigate what happened. It also looks for information about any insurance that is available to cover the incident.
The most important part about this form is that it asks you to tell the federal government what your case is worth. The trap for the unwary is that whatever number you put on this form is the most the Federal Government will have to pay if you end up going to Court. So, you want to make sure that this number is as high as you can justify.Federal District Court
If you’re unable to convince the government to make a fair settlement offer, you can go to court. However, instead of going to the state courts that many are familiar with, you can only sue the federal government in federal court. These courts, located in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, are completely separate from your local Superior Court and District Court.Attorney’s Fees Limitations
Attorneys fees are limited in claims brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Normally, a personal injury attorney will charge ⅓ of the settlement as his/her fee, though some lawyers do pay up to 40%. In claims against the federal government, your lawyer must charge less. If the case is settled without having to go to court, the most your attorney can charge is 20% of the settlement. If the case goes to court, the percentage he/she can charge increases to 25%.
If your lawyer is charging you the standard 33% fee for a case against the federal government, you need a new lawyer.Experienced Federal Tort Claims Act Attorney
There are many elements of a claim against the Federal Government that make it more complicated than a routine case against a company or individual. At Marcotte Law Firm, we have experience suing the federal government, and we’ve been successful in getting our clients the compensation they deserve.
If you were injured due to the negligence of a federal employee or federal agency, contact the experienced lawyers at Marcotte Law Firm for a free consultation.