MAUI TRAGEDY: For over 40 years, Davis Levin Livingston has represented our friends and neighbors on all the islands and they will be there for you in this hour of tragedy. Click here for more information.

Skip to Content

Elements of a Federal Tort Claim


If you are considering filing an injury claim against the government because of an accident, you should be aware of the elements of a Federal Tort Claim (FTC). FTC claims can be complicated and an accident lawyer can help you make sense of the laws while building a winning case.

What is the Federal Tort Claim Act?

The Federal Tort Claim Act (FTCA) permits civil claims to be brought against the government should you be injured in an accident. While at one time the federal government was protected from civil claims, the FTCA changed that. Filing an injury claim against the government is now permissible.

In essence, the government is waiving its right to sovereign immunity. When a government entity or employee causes injury to an individual in an accident, they can now be held liable.

What Does the FTC Process Look Like?

The first step in filing a Federal Tort Claim is to file an administrative claim.

You have only two years from the time the accident occurred to file an administrative claim. It is always best to get your claim filed as soon as possible, just in case any questions are raised about the accident date.

In the administrative claim, you must indicate the amount of damages that you are seeking to recover. You must also state the facts surrounding your case. While it is not mandatory, it is advisable to use the federal government’s standard claim form SF 95.

After you have submitted the administrative claim, the federal agency has six months to respond. The agency may agree to your claim, and pay the requested amount of damages. Or they can deny your claim, which is generally what happens.

If your claim is denied or there is not an agreement on the damages you have requested, you have six months to file a lawsuit. To offset any legal delays, it is advised to file a lawsuit as soon as possible after an FTC proves unsuccessful.

Where is an FTC Against the Government Filed?

Federal Tort Claims against the government are filed in the district court of the claimant’s residence or in the district court nearest to where the injury occurred. One exception is that if you’re filing an injury claim against the government for negligence. In this event, it can only be filed in state court.

After filing an injury claim against the government, it goes through the same process as most other claims. This means that there will be an opportunity to negotiate the settlement of the injury claim. This initial filing is called the administrative claim.

What Type of Damages Can I Expect to Receive?

When it comes to damages, a claimant cannot receive more than what was asked for in the administrative claim. If a claimant learns after the filing of an injury claim against the government that damages in property or injuries are greater than originally indicated, the evidence of this must be shown.

It is also important to know that a claimant cannot sue for punitive damages against the federal government.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Hawaii

Personal injury claims of any kind can be extremely tedious and confusing, much more so when filing an injury claim against the government. An accident lawyer can help you understand your full rights and can advocate for you, as well as handle all of the complexities of filing paperwork and gathering evidence for your case.

After a serious accident in Hawaii, you should be able to spend your time focusing on your recovery; not dealing with insurance adjusters, never-ending paperwork, and complicated legalese. Hawaii attorneys Davis Levin Livingston will fight for your rights while you focus on healing. Serving accident victims on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, and beyond. Contact us today for a no-cost case evaluation.