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Federal Tort Claims Act

Posted on:5/8/2012
In 1821 the Supreme Court of the United States held that no person could pursue an action against the U.S. government unless the government in some way consented. In 1946, the Congress of the United States partially waived this sovereign immunity by enacting the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).



 It is now possible to bring suit against the U.S. government under certain conditions. It should be noted that the FTCA and accompanying regulations are rather complex and bringing a personal injury claim against the United States under the FTCA is much more difficult than bringing a general claim under state law.


Under the FTCA the United States government becomes legally responsible for the negligent acts of its employee, if the employee is on the job, acting in the furtherance of the government's business. If these circumstances are proven, an individual may file suit against the U.S. government.


Federal law, rather than state law, determines whether or not somebody is considered an employee under the FTCA. Federal agency is defined to include the executive department, independent establishments of the United States and corporations acting as instrumentalities of the United States.


It is important to determine for purposes of the FTCA whether or not a party or entity is an independent contractor or an agent for the government. If the party or entity is deemed to be an independent contractor, the government will not be liable. You will have to sue the independent contractor directly in a civil lawsuit.

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