California Federal Tort Claims Lawyer

A female lawyer approaching a judge at his desk to hand him papers.U.S. immigration and law enforcement agencies are given wide discretion to administer operations as they see fit. At the same time, they are held to the same standards as other federal employees to not commit any undue harm — either through unintentional negligence or intentional wrongful acts.

When federal employees injure someone mentally or physically while committing misconduct, injury victims can sue the at-fault agency under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

FTCA claims are available to anyone with a qualifying complaint, including non-citizens and foreign nationals. Two of the main requirements are that the misconduct must have taken place on U.S. (non-foreign) soil and that it was committed by an individual (or individuals) operating under the scope of their duties.

A successful claim can allow the victim to recover damages for their medical injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damages.

Time is of the essence in these cases: the state of California only grants six months to file your initial administrative claim!

Act quickly by hiring an experienced Federal Tort Claims lawyer who can assist you at no up-front cost. Schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation with Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law when you Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online .

What Types of Cases Does a Federal Tort Claims Attorney Typically Handle?

In some senses, an FTCA claim bears similarities to other injury and wrongful death claims handled by personal injury lawyers. The act’s language opens the federal government to all sorts of claims, which would otherwise be impossible to file because of the legal doctrine of “sovereign immunity.”

The language of the act (under 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)) allows for harmed individuals to seek damages from the most-appropriate agency any time they have suffered:

” injury or loss of property, or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.”

In other words, the act allows people to hold federal employees accountable under the same laws that establish liability for anyone who acts negligently or wrongfully.

Some of the most common case types litigated under the act include:

  • Malpractice claims against the Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs and other agencies responsible for direct medical care provision
  • Property damage, “takings,” and other harm inflicted to property’s value or its ability to function as the result of the acts of a government employee or agency
  • Injury and mental suffering arising from the ommissions, negligence, or wrongful acts of law enforcement bodies.

Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law has extensive experience with the last category of cases. Over their decades of practice, our attorneys have successfully litigated claims against agencies like Customs and Border Protection (CBP), ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

Abuses committed by these agencies can range from inhumane detention conditions, wrongful deportation, false imprisonment, use of excessive force, and wrongful seizure of property to explicit physical and psychological abuse.

In many cases, we successfully held the responsible parties accountable for their wrongdoings. In some, our clients were able to secure an alternative means towards their immigration or naturalization goals, such as through obtaining a U Visa after they cooperated with an internal investigation into the misconduct.

We are here, prepared and ready to fight for your human rights and to seek all available damages under the law.

Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online to speak with one of our experienced immigration lawyers today

How to File a Lawsuit With the Help of a Federal Tort Claims Attorney

One thing to know about FTCA claims in California is that, because of state laws, victims have just six months from the last harmful incident to file an administrative claim against the appropriate agency.

This strict time limit means that it is of the utmost importance to do the following as soon as possible:

  • Take steps to communicate with the victim and record their reports of abuse as well as any available evidence they have
  • Put the victim of misconduct into an attorney-client relationship so that they can receive representation and can safely report their experiences to others.
  • Report the misconduct to the appropriate agency, potentially filing a secondary report with an office with investigative jurisdiction, such as the Office of the Inspector General.
  • Gather all available evidence to submit to the most appropriate agency as part of an administrative claim.
  • File Standard Form 95, “Claim for Damage, Injury or Death” (SF-95) with the office closest to the location of the harmful misconduct
  • Prepare for possible litigation should the claim be denied or have its damages unacceptably reduced.

Once the government agency receives the administrative claim, they have just 45 days to respond. If they do respond, the tort victim must file a lawsuit within six months of receiving the denial, either through mail or in-person service. In the (rare) event that the U.S. government fails to issue a timely response to the claim, the victim has two years to file their complaint.

Extensions to these strict timetables can be granted when the tort victim is imprisoned, currently out of state, lacks mental capacity, or is a minor. Even in these cases, reporting harmful misconduct and filing a claim quickly is critical. Acting quickly gives the victim the highest possible chance of recovering all damages.

Never Be Afraid to File a Claim When You Have Suffered Injustice

Many immigrants and individuals targeted by federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are reluctant to file a claim for their injuries. They fear retaliation or other consequences for “raising a fuss.”

In our experience at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law, we find in most cases that nothing a federal agency can do in response to an FTCA claim will be worse than the initial abuses and wrongful treatment suffered by the victim. Shining a light on abuses is the best way to prevent further harm to the victim while also giving them an avenue to recover the damages they have suffered.

We are here to help you hold the U.S. government accountable, and we do so intending to secure you the maximum amount of damages available for your claim. We will also do everything in our power to ensure that past mistakes and misconduct are not repeated, preventing further possible harm to others thanks to the bravery of one individual who dared to report their suffering.

The Discretionary Function Exemption (DFE) Defense

While many law enforcement officers want people to assume that their authority is absolute, the truth is that no one is above the law, especially those tasked with upholding it. Supreme Court decisions have held that any intentional torts inflicted by law enforcement officers acting within the scope of employment can be grounds for an FTCA suit, “regardless of whether the officers are engaged in investigative or law enforcement activity, or are executing a search, seizing evidence, or making an arrest.”

However, many government agencies will attempt to avoid liability for their torts by claiming a discretionary function exemption (DFE) to the FTCA. This type of exemption applies when the individual in question can make decisions according to their own discretion and where those decisions fall in line with a reasonable interpretation of their duties and their scope of authority.

The applicability of the DFE varies on a case-by-case basis. It is always important in these situations to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after an alleged abuse occurs. That way, claimants can preserve evidence and reveal the truth about whether a government employee acted reasonably and appropriately, given the circumstances.

Work With California FTCA Lawyers Who Have a Reputation for Success

No legal case is guaranteed to succeed, but Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law can promise that we have deep experience in this field of law. Our years of holding government agencies accountable have uncovered the factors that tend to lead such cases to victory.

We have secured hundreds of thousands of dollars to compensate our clients for the harm they have suffered, and our efforts have led to visible reforms within the way agencies like ICE and the BOP operate.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of a harmful act of negligence or wrongdoing by a U.S. government employee, make the critical call to reach out to us for free today. We will never charge you up-front for our services in connection with a tort case, and we only receive our fees if we can secure compensation for you.

We are ready to fight for you in court and at the negotiation table! Schedule your free, no-risk, confidential case evaluation today when you Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online.