The federal government is usually immune from lawsuits under a doctrine called sovereign immunity. What this means is that generally, you cannot sue federal organizations such as the United States Military unless you have permission to do so. However, in certain circumstances, sovereign immunity can be waived. Here are some possible options for considering filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the United States Military:
The Federal Tort Claims Act
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) waives the federal government’s sovereign immunity provided certain conditions are present. This Act allows private individuals, military family members, and veterans to file claims against the United States military which include personal injury and wrongful death actions which occurred as a result of the “negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the agency while acting within the scope of his office or employment." In other words, only federal employees can be sued under this Act, and their conduct must have been committed as part of their employment. Further, in most instances, the FTCA will only apply to negligent acts rather than intentional ones. Actions brought under the FTCA also have to be based on and permitted by the law of the State in which the action took place.
The Military Claims Act
The Military Claims Act (MCA) is another way in which certain claimants can recover damages which are the result of a personal injury or wrongful death caused by military personnel or civilian employees through their military employment. Damages can also stem from “noncombatant activities of a peculiarly military nature” such as those performed during certain military training exercises. The MCA applies to actions in any country and covers damages which are not covered by the FTCA. The MCA does not include certain activities, and military personnel and civilian military employees cannot file a personal injury or wrongful death claim under this Act.
While there are certainly barriers to suing a governmental entity, the law does provide different measures you can take in order to pursue personal injury and wrongful death claims against the United States military. However, these remedies have numerous requirements and exceptions which can impact your case. To effectively evaluate your potential claim it is important to meet with an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney.
When the military is responsible for an injury or death, it is critical that you understand your options. We have the experience and knowledge you need to pursue your claim. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.