Can you sue the government for wrongful death?

government for wrongful death

Can You Successfully Sue the Federal Government in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

It makes no difference if you want to sue the government for damages you incurred by hitting a pothole on a roadway or suing the government in a wrongful death suit, the odds of winning are not good, however, possible. 

Federal Tort Claims Act

You can file your claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. However, the federal government and all of its branches, including the military, are protected by Sovereign Immunity. This immunity prevents lawsuits by anyone from happening; that is unless the government agrees to the lawsuit. You can not sue the government. However, there are instances where you could file a claim for a lawsuit against the government. You accomplished this step through the Federal Tort claims Act in exceptional circumstances. If a federal employee’s gross negligence caused the death, you could sue, but only if you could sue a private citizen and win your case. 

The Possibilities are Present for a Lawsuit Win

To sue the federal government in a wrongful death lawsuit is a possibility, however, a difficult challenge. You will need a wrongful death attorney at your side to sort through all of your case’s particulars. Ordinary citizens must not file a claim for a lawsuit without the help of your attorney. 

For example, to sue an employee of the federal government, that employee must have been on the job at the wrongful death. If a federal agent was on the job and in pursuit of a criminal and the agent collides with your car, you might sue. If that same agent was off duty and crashed into your vehicle, you cannot sue that agent. 

Your lawsuit claim must be due to gross and extreme negligence or any other cause. You could not file a lawsuit claim if you claim assault, false imprisonment, abuse of process, false arrest, abuse of process, battery, slander unless there was gross negligence by a government agent.

You cannot sue the government when a third party caused the death. For example, the government hired a third party to do work for them, and someone from that company caused death. It would be best if you then sued that third party. 

A lawsuit of any type involving the federal government has many limitations and speculations when you try to sue the government. If your wrongful death attorney believes you have a case, that attorney will undoubtedly take your case.

If you plan on suing the government in a wrongful death lawsuit, you have two years to file your claim. Filing earlier is better than filing later because you want to be sure to register within the time frame allowed by the government. Be sure to document all the facts you can with your claim and the amount of money you expect in damages. The agency has six months to issue a ruling. If your case is strong, the government may admit your claim and compensate you for losses. Your court presence in this instance may not be required. 

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

There are limits on who can file for wrongful death. However, these limitations are broad. At any rate, the one to file must be a representative of the deceased person. This person is the executor of the decedent’s estate. People included are as follows.

  • Immediate Family Members (spouses, children, adopted children, parents of unmarried children)
  • Life Partners
  • Financial Dependents
  • Putative Spouses
  • Distant Family Members in some states (brothers, sisters, grandparents)
  • All persons who suffer Financially
  • Parents of a Deceased Fetus

Who Can You Sue?

This list is wide and varied and covers persons, government branches, government employees, companies. Who can be held responsible in a wrongful death case? For example,

  • The Designer or builder of a faulty roadway
  • The driver or employer in a car accident
  • A government agent failed to provide adequate warnings about a road hazard caused your accident
  • A manufacturer, distributor, or an installer of a faulty vehicle
  • Persons who sold, served, or delivered alcohol to impaired persons driving a car in an accident. 
  • The owner of an establishment where the alcohol was served or sold

A Bit More About Immunity

Individual persons or agencies are immune from a wrongful death lawsuit. This immunity can vary from state to state. More recent immunity laws state that protection is present in railroad collisions, some medical devices, and in some instances where generic drugs caused a death. 

As difficult as it is to sue the federal government, know that the government pays out millions of dollars every year in lawsuits. If you think you have a lawsuit case against the government in a wrongful death case, contact your wrongful death attorney to look at the circumstances and help you decide if you should proceed with your wrongful death lawsuit. 

Choose the Wrongful Death Attorney that is Right for You

Never try to sue the government on your own because there are so many specifics to sort through, as you can see. There is much information to be aware of in addition to many complicated facts to separate and research. Cases in wrongful death lawsuits mean you need the expertise of a seasoned attorney. 

Choosing a wrongful death attorney requires much thought. You want your attorney to be a great listener because you have many questions while still going through the grief process. You expect your attorney to review all of your legal options and guide you into the right decision. Winning a successful wrongful death lawsuit can alleviate many financial pressures and help to close some doors finally. Do not come to your attorney too late and wait too long to pursue a claim. Waiting too long to file your claim can hurt your lawsuit outcome, and this attorney wants to see you win a successful case. 


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