Damages Allowable Under The Federal Tort Claims Act

Damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act are measured by the law of the state in which the tort occurred. Thus, the state statutes control what damages may be obtained. However, there are some differences principally in the context of wrongful death claims. Because every law in every state is different in this regard, suffice it to say that counsel must be familiar with the District Court opinions in their district as well as in their state. The differences can also dictate who has the right ot claim damages – e.g. a spouse or administrator of an estate.
Even though actual damages may be obtained from the United States government for pain and suffering, medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses caused by the tort, etc., punitive damages are not allowed against the United States. Only compensatory damages may be recovered. While pre-judgment interest is not allowed against the United States, post judgment interest is allowable assuming the government appeals an award from a District Court and loses the appeal. Again, because the law of the state where the tort occurs controls who has the right to seek damages, injured parties should confer with counsel who practice in the area whre the tort occurred.

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