Federal Tort Claims Act – Notice of Claim

May 3, 2023



A little-known fact about the United States Government is that it has sovereign immunity for all legal claims raised against it; meaning the Government cannot be sued without its consent. The only time the Government can be sued is when a statute provides a specific action allowing a person to bring suit. In 1946, Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act which gave the public the ability to sue the Federal Government for damages resulting from negligent or wrongful acts committed by any government employee. Anyone that has sustained personal injury, property loss, or other damages caused by a federal employee or agency can pursue a claim under the Act – including individuals, businesses, or other government entities.


What Must be Proven to Make a FTCA Claim?


There are four specific elements to every FTCA claim. The individual harmed by a government employee must prove:

1) An employee or agent of the federal government caused the harm;

2) The employee’s acts or omissions were negligent or intentionally wrongful;

3) The employee was acting within the scope of their employment duties when the incident occurred; and

4) The Individual-Plaintiff was hurt as a direct result of the federal employee’s negligence.


Without these four elements, a claim cannot be successfully brought, and won, under the Federal Tort Claims Act.


How do you file a Federal Tort Claim Notice?


For most lawsuits, a private individual can go directly to the court and file a lawsuit against another individual. That is not the case in these FTCA claims. To make a claim under the FTCA against the Federal Government, the first step is to present a written “notice of claim,” otherwise known as an “administrative claim,” to the government agency allegedly responsible for the injury. This administrative claim must be delivered prior to any lawsuit being filed. For example, if you are riding your bicycle down a street and are hit and injured by a United States Postal Worker’s truck, then the first step in suing the government for the postal worker’s negligence would be to send written notice to the United States Postal Service because that is the agency responsible for all postal workers.

Though not necessarily required, a Standard Form 95 is commonly used for the administrative claim. The information required in a notice includes specific details about the event, the parties involved, and a demand for an amount of monetary compensation. An administrative claim must be filed with the correct agency within 2 years of the incident, or less depending on each state’s statute of limitations. The agency will have 6 months to evaluate the claim and respond.


The Agency’s Response

After evaluating your claim, the federal agency will either accept or deny responsibility. If the agency accepts responsibility for the injuries, they will offer to settle the claim for a specific amount of money. The agency may or may not use the figure provided on the administrative claim. If you are not satisfied with the monetary amount provided, you can file a request to reconsider the amount or file a suit in court.


Filing a Lawsuit after the Notice of Claim

If the agency denies responsibility for the injuries, or offers an unsatisfying settlement offer, you can file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court. The lawsuit must be filed within 6 months of receiving the agency’s claim response. Typically, the lawsuit must request the same compensation requested on the administrative claim, unless new evidence has surfaced since the original administrative claim was filed. These lawsuits will proceed just like any other lawsuit does.

It is very important to speak with a lawyer to confirm all necessary requirements have been taken care of and the strict deadlines have been adhered to.


How do I know if I have a Federal Tort Claim?

If you, or someone you know, has been injured by a federal employee, please contact Coffman Law Offices. Owner and Founding Partner Brian Coffman has handled numerous Federal Tort claims, and through his experience seeking justice for injury victims, Brian has also come to understand the strategies typically employed by defendants in these types of cases. Click HERE to contact our office for a free consultation.


About Coffman Law Offices, P.C.

Coffman Law is Chicago’s leading personal injury law firm and is committed to providing superb legal representation for people who are suffering from severe personal injuries or are dealing with the loss of a loved one due to negligence or misconduct. Coffman Law is results-driven law firm focused on ensuring that clients receive the compassion, attention, and consideration that they need to seek adequate compensation for injuries or loss. The firm is led by Owner and Founding Partner Brian Coffman, who has dedicated his career to helping accident victims navigate the legal system and obtain compensation for their injuries.