Early in my career as a Utah injury attorney, a young, Air National Guardsman came to me.
He had been watching a softball game near the Salt personal injury lawyer Utah Lake City Airport when a gust of wind picked up a piece of plywood from land owned by the government. The wind carried the plywood one hundred feet and dropped it on the young man’s wrist.
A highly respected Salt Lake City attorney told Utah personal injury attorney him the case was, at best, worth nuisance value of one thousand dollars. The attorney was experienced but not in injury law.
In the law of “Torts”, (injury law) injuries caused by nature are known as “Acts of God.” Was this an Act of God? Not if it could have been predicted, says Utah injury law.
Research from the National Weather Service showed wind gusts were common near the Salt Lake City Airport. Therefore, the Federal government should have tied down the plywood.
Claims against the federal government come under a special law passed by Congress called the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The young man’s claim under the FTCA resulted in a settlement thirty six (36) times that predicted by the Salt Lake City attorney.
AN FTCA CLAIM MUST BE FILED WITHIN TWO YEARS
Under the FTCA a claimant must file a written administrative claim with the applicable Federal agency within two years of the accrual of the claim.
TIME OF ACCRUAL
Accrual occurs when the government violates a persons rights and he or she is damaged because of it. If a postman drives over your foot while you are checking your mail, for example, accrual would be the moment his tire hits your foot.
INITIATING A CLAIM
To start the claim, the man with the injured foot would typically file United States Government Standard Form 95 (SF-95) with the appropriate Federal agency.