The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1946. Prior to this law, the United States government had sovereign immunity, which meant that it could not be sued in most cases. The FTCA provides a limited waiver of this immunity, allowing individuals to bring lawsuits against the federal government for certain torts committed by government employees within the scope of their employment.
The FTCA applies to a wide range of federal agencies and their employees, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Bureau of Prisons, the National Park Service, and many others. The types of torts covered under the FTCA include, but are not limited to, medical malpractice, automobile accidents, and premises liability.
It’s important to note that the FTCA is not a blanket waiver of sovereign immunity, and there are certain exceptions to the types of claims that can be brought under the FTCA. For example, the FTCA does not cover intentional torts such as assault and battery, and it does not cover claims arising from the performance of discretionary functions, such as policymaking or planning decisions.
In order to bring a claim under the FTCA, a person must first exhaust their administrative remedies by filing an administrative claim with the relevant federal agency. If the claim is not resolved administratively, the individual may then file a lawsuit in federal court. The lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the injury, death, or loss.
As for suing a government agent individually under this statute, the FTCA does not provide for suits against individual government employees. The United States is the only defendant in an FTCA case, and any recovery is paid from a judgment fund established by Congress.
However, it is possible that an individual government employee may be held personally liable if they acted with intentional wrongdoing or outside the scope of their employment. This would typically require a separate lawsuit against the individual employee, rather than being pursued as part of an FTCA claim.
In conclusion, the Federal Tort Claims Act provides a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for the United States, allowing individuals to bring lawsuits against the government for certain torts committed by government employees within the scope of their employment. However, the FTCA does not permit suits against individual government employees, and there are certain exceptions to the types of claims that can be brought under the FTCA.