Federal Tort Claim for Malpractice

November 17, 2012 by Tony Caggiano

Injury caused by any federal agency, including the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Health and Human Services involves special federal laws. When harmed by the United States government, individual's rights are generally governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
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Whether it involves medical malpractice by a federally funded health care facility or a car accident caused by a United States postal worker, before a lawsuit can be filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, a written administrative claim must be presented on a special form to the federal agency employing the person who caused the injury. The agency then has six months to either admit or deny the claim. A lawsuit cannot be filed until the administrative claim has been denied or until six months has passed without the agency acting on the administrative claim.

In such cases, a federal judge, not a jury, will decide the case. In other words, a federal district court judge decides who wins the case. For all of these reasons, if you or a family member is injured by an employee of the federal government, you need a competent federal tort lawyer who has tried FTCA claims in federal court.

While there are more than 80,000 attorneys in Florida, there are only a small number of lawyers who specialize in civil trial law. Most people may not be aware that the Florida Bar has certified less than 2% of all Florida Bar members as specialists in civil trial law - which includes injury caused by federal employees. In addition, there are even fewer Florida lawyers who are also licensed as a medical doctor at the same time.

There is certainly an advantage to have both a board certified trial lawyer and a medical doctor/lawyer pursuing the United States in a legal action. These cases require significant medical and legal expertise in order to take on the government attorneys who will defend the tort claim. People should understand what they are up against.

We believe so strongly that the selection of the wrong lawyer may lose a case years before it ever goes to trial that we have written a book to help consumers select the right lawyer. We continue to make the book, Seeking Justice: An Insider's Guide for the Injured, available at no charge. Give yourself a fighting chance to win a just result.


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