The Federal Tort Claims Act: Determining The Law Of Liability

When a claim is asserted against the United States government, the claim is based on the alleged liability of the United States in accordance with the law of the place where the negligent act or omission occurred. As an example, if a postal truck runs over someone in the State of Georgia, the laws of the State of Georgia will control whether the acts of the postal carrier driver were negligent. The liability of the United States as stated in other entries is the same as would be the liability of a private person. If a private person runs a stop sign and injures a third party, that would be negligence per se as it would violate a Georgia Uniform Rule of the Road statute. Similarly, if postal truck runs the stop sign, this would be negligence per se under Georgia law which state law would control the liability of the United States. Because Federal Tort claims against the United States are controlled by local laws of liability, the injured claimant should confer with counsel where the tort occurred. If the claimant lives in a district other than where the tort occurred, the case can still be filed in the district of residence but the law where the tort occurred will control the case.

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