Federal Tort Claims Act Federal Tort Claims Essay

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Federal Tort Claims Act

Federal Tort Claims

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) (P.L. 79-601, 60 Stat. 842) was enacted by U.S. Congress in August 1946, according to which any individual can sue the federal government for personal damages, like loss of money and property, physical injury or any other such situation caused by federal organization and its employees, while working within the limits of employment. The person can file claims against the government and the expenditure must be repaid to him if falls under the liabilities of FTCA. The FTCA is authorized for the recovery of any financial damage caused by some misunderstanding or mistreatment of the rules and regulations set by federal government, since the act falls under negligence and intolerable behavior which can highly cost the other person. According to this act, "The United States shall be liable, respecting the provisions of this title relating to tort claims, in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances, but shall not be liable for interest prior to judgment or for punitive damages" (Cohen and Burrows 2007). This statement clearly indicates what can the state government do in such tort claims cases and what does not fall under its provisions. Hence according to FTCA, the government will not provide compensation in those tort claims which accounts under the discipline and law and comes as a penalty to the person according to a particular situation.

Prior to the enactment of FTCA, there were many such claims in which individuals, who were physically injured or financially broken by any individual or corporation, were provided compensation according to the law. But there was no such law against the federal government and its employees by which it becomes liable of the negligence and mis-use of authority given by the government. Cases like negligence or mal-treatment by health care professionals of federal government, or accidents caused by the drivers of the state's public transport system were never suited, as federal government did not consider itself liable to be claimed for such incidents. Such happenings were treated as personal faults and unprofessional attitudes and the victim would never get justice. The federal government was considered immune to all such claims and suits by individuals amongst the society. This is called the doctrine of "Sovereign Immunity," by which "that there can be no legal right against the authority that makes the law on which the right depends." Hence, the government is supreme enough not to be suited for compensation cases, unless with the consent of Congress. There were some many money claims cases reported by the citizens of U.S., if the federal government was responsible, in any case, for their financial damages. There were some tort claims also, but such were never entertained due to lack of a proper law and legislation about such claims against the government (Cecchine, 2004).

It was actually the "Empire state building crash" of July 1945, in which an army bomber crashed into the building due to fog and lack of visibility, causing deaths and injuries to many people inside the building. At that time, it was obvious that no one can sue the government for this accident and the loss of lives as there was no legislation regarding such accidents, but the government itself offered some amount to the victims as compensation. Some of the victims accepted the amount, while some other filed a suit against the government. About a year later, FTCA was enacted legally and the victims of this crash became the first ones to sue federal government under this legislation. Since then, any U.S. citizen can claim for his torts if falls under the liabilities of FTCA, and the authority is bound to take such actions and to retrieve money or other asset if treated wrongly by mishandling of authority provided. Hence the FTCA waives off the sovereign immunity and allowed the citizens to take their respective compensations from the government (Niles 2002).

Like other legislations, FTCA has some provisions, limitations and exceptions too. The act falls under the title of sensitive acts, as there can be as many reports and claims according to different circumstances, and the law should be enacted such that it must incorporate with all kinds…[continue]

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