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Administrative Claim

Definition - What does Administrative Claim mean?

An administrative claim is an injury claim filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against a government entity, as opposed to a claim filed in court for a “normal” personal injury against a nongovernmental person or entity.

For example, if a person is injured from the negligence of a nongovernmental person or entity they generally have the right to file a civil claim directly against that person to recover damages for their loss. If, however, they are injured in an accident by the conduct of a government employee the claim must be filed against the federal agency who employs the person responsible for the injurious conduct.

When can I sue the government?

Historically, it was very difficult to sue governmental employees for misconduct or negligence. In fact, most workers had what was termed "sovereign immunity." The Federal Tort Claims Act eliminated sovereign immunity to a degree but generally only allows claims against federal workers who injured others while performing work within the scope of their employment, specifically if the injury is “caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government."

Limitations of an FTCA Claim

Even with the passage of the FTCA, however, it is still very difficult to win a lawsuit against the federal government. There are strict limitations which may bar a claimant’s ability to win compensation for their injury. For example, the law may not cover independent contractors or any conduct which is performed outside of the scope of employment.

FTCA claims are also only filed for negligence. If a governmental employee intentionally injures another person the injured party may not be able to file under FTCA but will instead have to file a traditional personal injury claim in court.

How do I file an administrative claim?

Claimants who have been injured by a government official who is acting within the scope of their employment may have the ability to file an administrative claim.

All claims against the federal government and its employees must be filed within two years from the date of injury. The statute of limitations for claims against state or local governments can vary. Claims filed after the statute of limitations may be dismissed.

To file a claim the claimant can complete the government’s standard claim form, known as the Standard Form 95 or SF 95. This form can be obtained from the Department of Justice’s website or from the agency in which the claim is being filed. Using Standard Form 95 will simplify the process because it will ask the claimant for all necessary information such as the amount of compensation the claimant is requesting for their injuries and details about their personal injury claim.

After the claim has been submitted to the appropriate agency it can take up to six months to receive a response. The claim may be accepted, partially accepted, or denied. If the claim is denied the injured party has an additional six months to file a lawsuit in court. Waiting longer than six months to file a claim after the administrative decision may eliminate the right to receive compensation for injuries. If it takes more than six months for the federal agency to rule on the case, however, the claimant may either initiate a lawsuit or they can wait until the case had been decided by the agency. The six month statute of limitations does not start until the governmental agency has made a decision about the administrative claim.

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