Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Help! I've Fallen On Federal Property and I Can't Get Up; What Now?

Can the federal government be sued when I am injured on federal property, at a federal facility or harmed by a federal employee who was acting within the scope of their federal employment? The answer is yes, and the attorneys at Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott may be able to assist you with your claim.

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) allows you to sue the federal government for personal injuries, including but not limited to:

  • Slip and falls
  • Medical malpractice
  • Death
  • Property damage
  • Motor vehicle accidents

To make a timely claim, you or your personal injury attorney have two years from the date of injury to submit a Form 95 to the federal agency that caused your injury. The Form 95 places the agency on notice of your claim and of their alleged negligence. Receipt of Form 95 requires the agency to conduct an investigation into your allegations. The federal investigation must be completed within six months from the date the agency received the Form 95. If six months have passed and the agency has not settled or denied your claim, your attorney can file suit in federal court. This is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as you think you may have an injury claim.

Even though your claim will be filed with the federal district court, and heard by a federal judge if not settled, the FTCA provides that the law of the state applies. The judge determines applicable state law by looking to where the injury or negligence occurred. That state's laws will be used to determine fault and damages. If your injury occurred in Kansas City, Missouri, the state law of Missouri will govern your FTCA personal injury claim. If your injury happened in Kansas City, Kansas, the laws of Kansas will apply.

You should also know that the FTCA does not cover all personal injury claims that would normally be recoverable under state law. For example, the following torts are not covered under the FTCA:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • False imprisonment
  • False arrest
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Abuse of process
  • Libel
  • Slander
  • Misrepresentation
  • Deceit
  • Interference with contract rights

Another interesting fact about a personal injury claim under the FTCA is that recovery of punitive damages is not allowed. Punitive damages are sometimes referred to as exemplary damages. These damages are awarded to an injured party with the hopes of deterring the defendant, the party that caused the harm, from engaging in the same or similar harmful behavior in the future. For this reason, it is very important that when completing the Form 95, you and your attorney discuss damages and request damages in an amount reflective of your injury because it is unlikely that you can recover for more than what you claim on the Form 95.

If you have questions about a personal injury case, or have been injured by the negligence of the federal government, call the attorneys at Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott for a free consultation.