When you are injured by the actions of someone who works for the government, you may have a claim for compensation following your injury. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) allows for private citizens to bring lawsuits against the United States for damage or loss of property, injury, or death if the harm was inflicted by a government employee’s negligence. A California personal injury attorney can assist with bringing these complex claims.
There is, however, an exception to the FTCA—the discretionary function exception (DFE). A private citizen is unable to sue the government in a tort claim if the government employee was performing a discretionary function or duty when they injured the plaintiff. In other words, if the government employee had leeway to make decisions or to act independently while performing the action that injured the plaintiff, you may be unable to sue the government under the FTCA for damages.
In a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case, the court had to consider an issue involving the FTCA. The plaintiff was asleep in a park recreation area in his tent when a tree crashed into the tent and smashed his foot. The plaintiff sued under the FTCA and argued that the government negligently failed to cut down the tree. The district court dismissed under the DFE of the FTCA, and the plaintiff appealed.