How to File a Lawsuit Against the Federal Government

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How to File a Lawsuit Against the Federal Government

When a person is injured in an accident due to the negligence of another party, the law allows the victim to pursue damages against the at-fault party in order to recoup financial compensation for any losses the injuries have caused them. However, if the at-fault party is an employee of the federal government or a federal agency, there is an entirely different process than suing a private entity. This article will help answer the question of how to file a lawsuit against the federal government. For more detailed information, contact a personal injury attorney.


The law that covers suing the federal government is the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). It is this law that specifies the procedural requirements that a victim must follow in order to protect their right to file a claim for their injuries. It is suggested that due to the complexity of these types of claims, victims should retain the services of a personal injury attorney.

Under the FTCA, the at-fault party must be an actual employee of a federal agency and not just an independent contractor, and their actions or behavior must have been negligent and not willful misconduct. There is an exception if the misconduct was engaged in by a federal law enforcement employee.

The first step to filing a claim under FTCA is to submit a Notice of Claim with the federal agency that is responsible for the victim’s injury. The Notice of Claim is filed using Standard Form 95 (SF95). Information submitted on this form includes the date and time of the incident and the details of any injuries, death, and property damage. There is also an area where the victim can list any witnesses and their contact information. The form must also include a specific dollar amount of the financial compensation the victim is seeking. If this dollar amount is not included, it can result in the victim forfeiting their right to seek damages.

Even though a victim could fill out the form themselves, it is often better to have an attorney fill out the claim because of the specific legal requirements the form has. These include:

  • Deadline for Filing: The Notice of Claim must be filed within two years of when the injury occurred. Once the claim is filed, the federal agency has six months to make a determination on your claim. Once the agency makes its decision, the victim then has six months to file a lawsuit if the full amount of damages they requested in their Notice of Claims is not awarded. An attorney will know when each of these deadlines will be.
  • Documents to Support the Claim: The victim is required to submit supporting documents with their Notice of Claim. An attorney will know exactly what type of documents are crucial to your case and will make sure those documents get submitted with the claim. These documents include medical diagnoses, treatments, diagnostic tests, medical expenses, loss of income, and more.

Filing a Lawsuit

If the government does not rule in your favor, your attorney may file a lawsuit under the FTCA. The lawsuit must be filed in the U.S. District Court in the jurisdiction where the incident or accident occurred. The government will assign the case to an attorney in the Department of Justice (DOJ), so having an experienced federal lawsuit attorney advocating for you is critical. Contact the Saavedra Law Firm, PLC, to learn more.

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