Filing an Administrative Claim
In a normal lawsuit claiming negligence, you proceed more or less straight to court. But if you wish to sue under the FTCA, you must first file a claim with the federal agency responsible for the alleged misconduct. For example, if your claim is based on an accident at the post office, you would file your claim with the U.S. Postal Service. During this phase of the process, while your claim is being reviewed by the federal agency, it is referred to as an "administrative claim."
Although not strictly necessary, the easiest way to prepare your administrative claim is to use the federal government's standard claim form, known as a Standard Form 95 or SF 95, which has boxes for all the information you will need to provide. You can get a copy of the form from the Department of Justice’s website (at www.usdoj.gov, type “standard form 95” into the search box) or request a copy from the federal agency to which you will be submitting your claim.
Here is an overview of how the administrative claim process works:
You must file within two years. You have two years from the time your claim arises to file your administrative claim with the appropriate federal agency. Because the exact date when your claim arose may be a legal issue in your case, it is important to file your administrative claim as soon as possible to avoid any chance of it being rejected as untimely.
Include facts and damages in your claim. Your administrative claim must include the exact amount of money damages you are claiming, as well as enough facts about your case to allow the federal agency to investigate the merits of your claim. Using a SF 95 form will help ensure that you've included all of the necessary information.
The agency has six months to respond. Once your claim is submitted, the federal agency has six months to rule on it. In some cases, the federal agency may "admit" your claim (that is, agree that your claim is valid) and agree to pay you some or all of the money damages you demanded, and you may not need to go to court.
You then have six months to file a lawsuit. If the federal agency rejects your claim or refuses to pay all the money damages you demanded, you have six months from the date on which the decision is mailed to you to file a lawsuit. Again, file your lawsuit as soon as possible after receiving this decision to avoid any chance of having your lawsuit dismissed as untimely.
You don’t have to sue until the agency rules on your claim. If the federal agency fails to rule on your administrative claim within six months, you have the choice of either awaiting the agency's decision or going ahead with your lawsuit. As long as the federal agency is still considering your claim, there is no time limit for you to file a law suit in federal court; the six-month time limit only begins to run once the agency has ruled on your claim.
Once you have gone through the procedures listed above -- a process known as "exhausting your administrative remedies" -- you are eligible to file a lawsuit in court to pursue money damages from the government.
OPR's jurisdiction is limited to reviewing allegations of misconduct made against Department of Justice attorneys and law enforcement personnel that relate to the attorneys' exercise of authority to investigate, litigate, or provide legal advice.
Forward complaints against DOJ employees to OPR in writing. No forms are required, but the complaint should include:
the names and titles of the individuals suspected of misconduct,
the details of the allegations including case names,
any other relevant information,
copies of any documentation pertaining to the matter.
A victim of a federal crime may file a complaint against any employee of the Department of Justice who violated or failed to provide the rights established under the Crime Victims Rights Act of 2004, 18 U.S.C. § 3771.
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
- The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
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