Suing the Government and Winning
Were you involved in a traffic accident with a post office employee? Were you injured in medical malpractice by a Veterans Administration practitioner? These are among a wide range of reasons to sue the government for negligence.
If you would like to file a claim against the government, your best option is to sue the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA allows specific types of lawsuits against the federal government and its employees.
In this article, we will help clarify the coverage and limitations of FTCA, how you can file an administrative claim against the government, and how to sue the government in court easily and win.
When Can You Sue the Government?
There are special laws that allow citizens to file claims against the federal, state, or local government. This means you can sue the government for damages caused by negligence or misbehavior of government offices and their employees. For the government to be held accountable, you must prove that there was harm caused by negligence. You may sue if the government or its employees:
- Improperly designed roads and intersections that cause car accidents
- Improperly designed city parks that result in accidents and injuries
- Designed school zones that are considered accident-prone
- Inefficiently organized government activities that result in damage to property
- Caused a vehicular accident with government-owned vehicles
- Caused injuries in government-owned properties, buildings, or facilities
- Provided improper signage or inadequate warning signs of construction that caused an accident
- Caused an injury due to incompetent operation of construction machinery
- Released toxic substances from government-owned properties that cause health hazards
What is Covered Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)?
You cannot sue the government unless it has given you consent to do so due to the concept of “sovereign immunity”. Nonetheless, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) allows citizens to sue the government with specific lawsuits. If you believe you have a valid claim for negligence, you may file a complaint under the FTCA. Here are some examples of claims covered by the FTCA and some limitations:
|Vehicular accidents||Independent contractors hired by the government cannot be sued under the FTCA|
|Bus accidents||Wrongful conduct must have been performed during the time of the defendant’s employment|
|Burn injuries||Only claims of negligence are allowed|
|Slip and fall incidents||The claim must be based on the state’s specific law where the misconduct happened|
|Sports injuries while at school|
|Breach of contract|
|Assault and battery|
How to File an Administrative Claim?
If you wish to file a complaint under the FTCA, you must file an administrative claim with the correct federal agency. For example, if you slipped and fell on the premises of a public school, you need to file your claim with the Department of Education. Follow these steps to file an administrative claim:
- Fill up Standard Form 95 or SF 95. You can download a copy of the form from the Department of Justice‘s website.
- The statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years. This means you have to file the claim within the deadline or else risk having your claim rejected for being untimely.
- State in your claim the facts and the exact dollar amount of damages you are claiming. If you use the SF 95 form, there are fields where you can conveniently enter the specifics of the claim.
- The federal agency has six months to respond to your claim once it is submitted. If the federal agency accepts your claim, they will agree to pay some or all of the damages. Otherwise, you may proceed to file a lawsuit in regular court.
- You have six months to file a lawsuit after the federal agency rejects your claim. It is recommended to file the lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid missing statutory deadlines.
- If the federal agency fails to respond within six months, you may either wait for the decision or proceed to file the lawsuit. The six-month time limit only applies as soon as the agency responds to your claim.
How to Sue the Government with DoNotPay
Having completed all the steps of an administrative claim means that you have already “exhausted your administrative remedies”. When this happens, you are eligible to file a lawsuit in court to pursue damages from the government. Depending on the dollar amount of the damages you are seeking, you can either sue in small claims court or federal court. Small claims have a limit on damages that are not over $10,000 to $15,000 and do not involve the services of a lawyer.
However, suing may not be as straightforward as you may expect it to be. This is where DoNotPay can help! We are the world’s first robot lawyer and we can streamline the suing process from start to finish. All you have to do is:
- Log in to DoNotPay and select the Sue Now product
- Enter the dollar amount you are owed
- Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable evidence
That’s it! DoNotPay will then generate a demand letter or court filing forms for you!
Who Else Can DoNotPay Sue?
Just when you thought suing the government is a daunting process, think again. We have been helping our users sue big corporations and also their noisy next-door neighbors. Here are some of the companies that we have helped sued: