When serious injury or loss is due to the actions or negligence of a federal employeeor government organization, the case will be handled in federal court. One of the most common liability situations occurs when a member of the public is injured by a defect on a public sidewalk or roadway. In these cases, it would seem clear that the governmental unit responsible for maintaining the road or walkway should be held legally responsible for the person’s injuries.
Traditionally, however, governmental entities enjoy protection from suit under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which provides the government complete immunity from suit. State and federal governments have reduced this broad sovereign immunity over the years by passing laws that limit or reduce the immunity of government entities in certain situations. These laws vary from state to state, but most are modeled on the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), which is a federal law that waives the sovereign immunity of the federal government under certain circumstances and allows it to be sued.
The Federal Tort Claims Act waives the immunity of the United States from tort liability for the acts of its officers and employees. Generally, a person who is hurt by a dangerous condition on federal property can recover damages from the United States in a premises liability suit if he or she can establish that the US’s negligence was caused by a government employee acting within the scope of his or her authority; that a duty was owed to the injured party; and that the duty was breached by a hazardous condition about which the government knew or should have known.
Coker, Schickel, Sorenson, Posgay & Iracki attorneys have experience in handling cases against the federal government. We understand how to work successfully within the strict guidelines set by the Federal Tort Claims Act. Our firm is prepared and ready to take on the challenges of these complex cases with the dedication and skill required to obtain maximum recovery for our clients.
Cases against the government must be handled in accordance with a rigorous set of specific rules and procedures. An administrative claim or pre-suit notice has to be filed before a lawsuit can be filed. The government and its representatives then have up to six months to respond to this initial claim. It is possible they will take action related to the case, possibly with a settlement offer during this period. If the government has not responded within six months from the initial claim, the lawsuit can proceed and may be resolved by federal trial or settlement. A two-year statute of limitations applies to claims brought against the U.S. Government. To clarify, the two years is calculated from the discovery/diagnosis time, not from the initial time that you may have noticed pain from your injuries. In addition, the formula for calculating the time tolled can vary by state. In some cases, the statute of limitations can be extended.
Our attorneys will be happy to consult with you on your injuries, its causes and the timing in which they occurred, to determine if you have a legitimate claim against the U.S. Government.
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