If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit that has something to do with a federal organization, then you will need to familiarize yourself with the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) (your personal injury attorney should already be familiar with it). You may or may not be able to file that lawsuit as a result of the legislation related to this Act.
In the days of old, the royal families were essentially pardoned from all crimes as a result of something called sovereign immunity. While we in the United States of America are not governed by a royal family, we do have a large number of government-funded organizations, and steps have been taken to protect these institutions from costly lawsuits; thereby the FTCA came into existence. Essentially this law ensures that you, a member of the general public, cannot sue a federal agency, unless you have permission from the government. Thus, cases that involve a federal agency are more difficult to file and to win.
There are several steps that will have to be taken to determine whether or not the FTCA will come into play, if you will be granted permission to sue, and what must be done to prove that the incident did, in fact, involve negligence.
Will the FTCA come into play? If you have faced serious losses — physically, mentally, or financially — at the hands of a federal agency, then chances are that you will have to consult the regulations laid out by this Act. Examples of this could be mistreatment at a Veterans’ associated hospital, that you were harmed by a medication approved by the FDA, or that you slipped and fell in a federal post office, for instance.
However, if the negligent party was not the federal agency, but an independent contractor hired by the federal agency, then the lawsuit will likely proceed without FTCA interference. For example, if you were walking into a post office and a window cleaner working overhead dropped something and it caused you physical injury. Most likely the window cleaners would be contracted workers and, therefore, the negligence would not truly be on the shoulders of a federal agency.
Can you file the suit? If there was true negligence at play on the part of an individual employed by a federal agency which can be proven with available evidence, the wrongful conduct was within the scope of the federal employee’s job description, and/or the lawsuit is based on Florida state law, then you can hire your St. Petersburg attorney and move forward with the case.
How can I prove negligence? This actually doesn’t differ greatly from a traditional personal injury case. You will likely need to have this information and evidence prepared ahead of time to prove that you have a legitimate case against the federal agency. Speak with a lawyer as soon as you can after the incident so work can begin on the collection of evidence and preparation of the case.
It is important to understand that it is not impossible to file a case against a government agency and to win. In fact, the government pays out millions of dollars annually to victims of negligence. However, it is essential to have a reliable Saint Petersburg attorney on your side. With the right knowledge and experience, you can file and win the monies you will need to cover your losses.