If you sustained an injury while employed by the federal government, you might feel underpowered to file a lawsuit for monetary compensation. After all, this is a powerful organization. Rather than do nothing, you have every right to recoup money spent on medical bills, and in some situations, pain and suffering.
Hiring a reputable attorney is the first and most important tip. Before filing a lawsuit against the federal government, your lawyer must first determine if the Federal Tort Claims Act or FTCA will permit your claim. While the purpose of this act is to provide claimants with financial compensation for injury, loss of property, and even death as a result of a government employee’s wrongful act, omission, or negligence, there is a tremendous amount of fine print and red tape involved.
As part of the claim, you must file a Notice of Claim with the specific agency responsible for your personal injury. For this, you would complete the Standard Form 95, which requests basic information about you and your federal job. You would also need to send in any supporting documentation required. If you need assistance with this form, you attorney can complete it for you.
Remember, a claim under the FTCA must go against a specific agency of the federal government. For example, if you fell while delivering mail as a postal carrier, you would file against the United States Postal Service. If a doctor at a veteran’s hospital caused your injury, the focus of the claim shifts to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Under the statute of limitations for the FTCA, you have up to two years to file a claim. Once received, the agency has six months in which to rule and respond. If the ruling is in your favor, you can move on. But if not, you have a six-month period to file a lawsuit. However, a qualified attorney will likely want to file much quicker, thereby ensuring everything arrives within the allotted time to avoid a dismissal.
If for some reason the government agency does not rule either for or against you within the given six months, you and your attorney will discuss waiting or proceeding with a lawsuit. There is no question that you can expect a lot of challenges, whether you are filing a claim or a lawsuit against the federal government. For that reason, you need to rely on the legal expertise of your attorney, knowing he or she has your back.
Another tip is to remain 100 percent honest and as detailed as possible with your attorney. For example, if you know the names of witnesses, give them to your lawyer. As you receive medical bills for the ambulance, emergency room, inpatient care, prescribed medication, outpatient therapy, and so on, you should pass those on as well. The more information and documentation your lawyer has, the better.
As your third and final tip, remain patient and trust the attorney you chose to work hard on your behalf. Unlike a personal injury case against an individual or business, there are many challenges that can arise when suing the federal government. Focus on recovering from your injury while your attorney continues investigating and gathering what he or she needs to achieve a successful outcome.