612 W Bay St, Tampa, FL 33606

What Damages Are Recoverable Against the Federal Government?

In its early history, the federal government subscribed to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Consequently, victims who sustained injuries or damage caused by the actions or negligence of a federal officer or employee could not sue the federal government to recover those damages. 

That changed in 1946 when Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

What Does the FTCA Allow You to Recover?

Formed as the basis for bringing lawsuits against the federal government, the FTCA generally allows plaintiffs to recover the same personal injury damages against the federal government that they would against a private entity. This means you can recover:

  • Compensation for monetary losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages
  • Compensation for non-monetary losses, such as emotional distress and pain, and suffering 

However, some areas differ from other types of personal injury law. First, you cannot recover punitive damages against the federal government (the public entity itself) — only against the federal employee who was negligent or committed the injuring act. Also, the federal government is allowed to pay awards of over $500,000 over 10 years.

Legal Considerations for Plaintiffs

It’s important to know that there are exceptions to the FTCA that protect government entities and employees in particular situations, such as claims arising in foreign countries, certain claims arising from the actions of law enforcement, claims against the Tennessee Valley Authority, and claims concerning the imposition of a quarantine.

A few additional issues you should take into consideration include:

  • There is a two-year statute of limitations following the incident you are suing over
  • The federal government has six months to respond to your claim, and you have an additional six months after that to file your lawsuit
  • The person who caused the injury must be a federal employee, not a contractor
  • There may be limits on economic damages you can recover
  • State law will apply to all federal claims

Get Help from the Experts

Filing a lawsuit against a federal entity in a U.S. district court is a complex process and requires significant attention to detail and an in-depth understanding of federal law. 

Contact Shrader, Mendez & O’Connell, Attorneys at Law, at (813) 360-1529 to discuss your claim and get advice about moving forward after an injury or incident.

Posted in Personal Injury