Cleveland Personal Injury Attorney Explains a Federal Tort Claim September 21, 2012.

A Cleveland personal injury attorney can help you with your personal injury claim against the government, known as a federal tort claim, because this type of claim is much more involved than a regular personal injury claim against another person. You must file the claim quickly and adhere to the deadlines in order to be eligible for compensation.

Is Your Federal Tort Claim Allowed?

In order to sue the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, you first will need to see if your claim is allowed.

Your federal tort claim will need to meet the following conditions:

  • Only federal employees can be sued;
  • The claim must be based on state law;
  • The negligence must have occurred under the employee’s scope of employment; and
  • The injury must be considered a result of negligence.

If you have questions about whether or not these elements pertain to your case, you should have a qualified Cleveland personal injury attorney review your claim.

The Federal Tort Claim Process

If your federal tort claim meets the above conditions, you can proceed with the process. You will need to file a claim with the appropriate federal agency. You can use a standard form.

The process includes the following elements:

  • Filing the claim – You have up to 2 years to file a federal tort claim. However, it is advised to file it as soon as possible. Your claim must include all the details of the case, as well as the amount of damages you are seeking.
  • Waiting for response – The agency has six months to review the claim and make a decision. It may agree your claim is valid and pay all or some of the damages you requested, or it may reject your claim.
  • Filing a lawsuit – If the claim is rejected or you want to try to win more money, you can file a lawsuit. You must do so within six months. Note that you don’t have to wait for a response from the agency before filing a lawsuit.

The lawsuit must be filed in the U.S. District Court in the area either where you live or where the injury took place. Filing in state court is not allowed, and you cannot ask for more money than you original requested in your federal tort claim, nor can you request punitive damages. A Cleveland personal injury attorney can help you file a lawsuit.

Settling the Claim

There are two main ways to settle a federal tort claim with the government. During the claim process, you may have the opportunity to settle out of court with the agency’s attorney. In addition, when you file a lawsuit, it is often reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice. This new attorney team may be more willing to settle with you.

Contacting a Lawyer

Government claims can be confusing. There are many limitations, deadlines and hoops to jump through in order to receive compensation through your federal tort claim. This process is difficult for private citizens to undergo on their own because they are often unfamiliar with the many federal and state laws that pertain to federal tort claims. Ask your lawyers about similar cases they have fought and won.

If you suffered an injury at the hands of the Ohio government, contact Mellino Law Firm. We are an Ohio law firm that can help you navigate the murky waters of the federal tort claim process. Call us today at (440) 333-3800.