Can You Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against the Government?

It is never easy to lose a loved one but when their death is caused by another person, agency, or company acting recklessly, negligently, or criminally, the death can be even harder to live with. In California, the next of kin are allowed to pursue wrongful death claims if another party was responsible for their death. Many wonder though – what if the government was the negligent party?

It is true that cases against the government are more complicated. It is true that they must be handled differently and that you need a very experienced personal injury attorney to help you through the process. Keep reading to learn more and then contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 to request a free legal consultation.

This is What You Need to Know Before You File

If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States government or a state or local government, then you first must make sure that it is valid under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Otherwise known as FTCA, this act allows that only certain types of federal employees and federal agencies can be sued.

The FTCA further restricts how these cases can be handled. For example, additional factors that apply to cases brought under FTCA include:

  • You cannot sue the government for the actions of an independent contractor unless the government treated them as an employee.
  • The negligent action must have happened within the scope of the at-fault party’s employment.
  • There are only certain allowed cases against federal law enforcement for intentional misconduct.

Note that in addition to meeting federal criteria, if you are bringing your case in California then it must also meet the laws and statutes of the state of California.

Understanding the Need to File an Administrative Claim

If you are bringing any type of injury claim against any government agency, including a wrongful death claim, then you have more complicated guidelines to follow than you would if the same suit were brought against an individual. If you do not follow the required steps, you claim will be denied.

For example, to file suit against a government agency you must get the proper government form for your claim, file a special administrative claim with the office or agency you are suing before you file the lawsuit, including details about the amount of damages as well as the facts of the case, and file it within the right timeframe for your specific claim.

The government will then have six months to respond to your claim. If they deny it, then you have six months to file a lawsuit. If you miss that deadline – or any other deadline – then you can expect your case to be denied. This is why it’s important to contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 now for your free legal consultation.