The federal government is everywhere. It does not simply roll over and let you sue them. They enjoy sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity refers to a government’s immunity from being sued by its citizens in its own courts without its consent. The federal government employs nearly 9.1 million workers, which is nearly 6% of total U.S. workforce. This includes nearly 2.1 million federal employees, 4.1 million contract employees, 1.2 million grant employees, 1.3 million active-duty military personnel, and more than 500,000 postal service employees. They operate trucks, construct highways, build buildings, drive heavy equipment, blanket our highways with government vehicles, and are ubiquitous in our national economy. Every year, government pays an estimated $35 billion annually because of vehicle crashes alone, an estimated 12.6% of the total economic cost of crashes (Federal 7.1%, State/local 5.5%). For limited government advocates, the numbers are astonishing. For subrogation professionals, however, the numbers should represent a tremendous opportunity.
MWL overcomes sovereign immunity defenses, ensure compliance with administrative claim filing under 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b), and coordinate such recovery efforts with the insured. We regularly conduct prompt and thorough investigations into injury and damage resulting from government negligence, providing sufficient detail and notice required in the Notice of Claim. It must be specific enough to make the government aware of the action, so it can prepare to defend itself. The claim is not required to provide more than the minimal details of the facts involved in the incident in order to give the government sufficient notice. A Standard Form 95 is frequently used to present claims against the U.S. under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
Federal tort actions must be prosecuted with the understanding that it is the judge who will making many of the decision, because there is no right to a jury trial in actions brought under the federal statute. That means an entirely new set of objectives must be considered during the investigation process. Understanding the complexity of the FTCA is one of MWL’s strong suits. You can rely on our early analyses and opinions regarding subrogation potential.
A good resource in this area of subrogation would be MWL’s Federal Government Liability and Tort Claims Chart. This chart concerns itself only with the FTCA and claims against the federal government. Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C. has prepared two charts which relate to and detail the specific law in all 50 states with regard to:
- State Sovereign Immunity and Tort Liability in All 50 States
- Municipal/County/Local Governmental Immunity and Tort Liability in All 50 States
The former chart covering state liability can be found HERE. The latter chart dealing with governmental immunity of local and municipal governmental entities can be found HERE. These charts present an overview of sovereign immunity and tort claims against government entities and municipalities under the laws of all 50 states.