Evaluating Your Options

Evaluating Your Options

The Federal Tort Claims Act and Car Accidents

Dale Watkins

Federal government vehicles are all over the roadways, including everything from tiny mail delivery trucks to big SUVs operated by the FBI. That means they can and do end up involved in accidents just like everyone else's vehicles. When folks sit down with an auto accident attorney to discuss such cases, though, they're often surprised to learn that the rules are different when it comes to the government. Let's take a look at how that fact might impact your claim.

The FTCA

The Federal Tort Claims Act is the main law that governs accidents involving federal government vehicles. It sets down the basic rules that start with a statute of limitations of two years for filing a case from the time of an accident. The big difference that comes into play is that the government is self-insured. On the upside, though, the government does print money so you at least know they can compensate you out of their own accounts.

Under the FTCA, you must send detailed supporting documents for their claims. This includes outline medical expenses from treatment and the cost of repairing or replacing your car. Everything has to be accounted for down to the last penny. An administrator will then be tasked with investigating the claim, and you can usually expect to get an answer back within 6 months.

Admitting the Claim

If the administrator, who is usually a government attorney from the agency involved in the accident, believes the claim is valid, the government will "admit" the claim. You will be "reimbursed" for expenses, but the government does have the option to pay you less than you requested. If the claim isn't admitted, you and your car accident attorney only have 6 months to file a lawsuit from the time the claim was denied.

Suing

Cases go before the appropriate U.S. District Court for the state where the accident occurred. An interesting twist that occurs, though, is that the Department of Justice takes over the case and assigns new attorneys. They may see the case differently than the agency's attorney did, potentially offering a settlement.

If a settlement isn't reached, the case will move forward as a normal federal civil trial would. The judge will order the discovery of evidence if there are disputes over facts. A jury will be selected, and they will hear the case and ultimately render a verdict. If they find in your favor, the jury will decide on compensation.

To learn more about the legal process, contact a local auto accident attorney. 


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Evaluating Your Options

Being injured in a car accident is never easy. You may find yourself struggling to do better, all while wondering what you can do to streamline your personal situation. However, when you make the decision to work with an attorney, things become a lot easier in the long run. From finding easier ways to move forward to understanding how to make the right steps towards getting the settlement you need, you can drastically improve your ability to move on after a car accident if you make a single call. Check out this website to learn how to identify a lawyer who can help you.

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