Federal Tort Claims Act

Military dependants and retirees may file claims and get recovery for injuries caused by the malpractice of military or government health care providers. Although most active duty military personnel cannot sue the government for injuries they personally received due to the malpractice of active duty military doctors, they may file claims on behalf of their children or other dependents.

If you are one of the millions of people who are eligible to receive health care in a federal health care facility, such as a military ("DOD") hospital, a Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") hospital, you should be aware of your legal rights in the unfortunate event that you are the victim of medical malpractice, or other government negligence.

The Federal Torts Claims Act ("FTCA") (28 U.S.C. sect. 2674) provides that the United States is liable for personal injuries, and medical malpractice "in the same manner as a private individual under like circumstances."

For example, the injured child of an active duty person may file a claim against the government. In addition, the active duty parent may also file a claim for its own emotional damages as well as for the increased medical costs or other expense the parent may incur due to the child’s injury.


Here are some examples of the types of medical negligence situations, which might occur.

  • Birth Injury / Injuries
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Wrongful Death
  • Misdiagnosis of Cancer (Breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, melanoma, etc.)
  • Anesthesia Malpractice
  • Delay in Diagnosis of Meningitis
  • Pediatric Malpractice
  • Surgical Errors
  • Orthopedic Malpractice
  • Medication and Pharmacy Errors
  • Newborn Screening (PKU, Galactosemia, Hypothyroidism, etc.)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cardiology
  • Group B beta strep cases
  • Stillborn baby cases
  • Failure to recognize and treat jaundice in a newborn baby
  • Injuries resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia

The FTCA is a complex law, and it underscores the unique legal status of the people who receive medical care from the federal government. 
Needless to say, if you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice at the hands of a federally employed health care provider, you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney, immediately.


Written claim must be filed within two (2) years from the date you knew, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the negligence. This two (2) year period is known as the Statute of Limitations period. The claim must be made in writing using Standard Form 95, and it must contain a demand for a "sum certain." The "sum certain" requirement means that the claimant must ask for a specific dollar amount. If the claim does not contain a request for a "sum certain," it may be deemed to be invalid. If a valid claim is not received by the government within the Statute of Limitations period, you have forever lost the right to make the claim and to collect money damages.


If a valid claim is filed with the appropriate agency within the Statute of Limitations period, that agency has, by law, six (6) months from the date the claim is filed, in which to investigate and reach an administrative settlement of the claim.


If, after that initial six (6) month administrative time period has expired, the government has not taken "final administrative action" on your claim, you may treat that government inaction as a denial. At which point, you are entitled to file a lawsuit against the United States in Federal District Court. If you are dissatisfied with the "final administrative action," that is taken on your claim, you have six (6) months from the date of the certified letter, within which to file a lawsuit against the United States in Federal District Court.

If you do not file a law suit within that six (6) month time period, you loose your right to do so, forever.

The Federal Tort Claim Act requires that cases be tried before a judge, without a jury. Therefore, you will not be entitled to a jury trial.

If you would like to speak to an attorney experienced in claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act contact the Barnes Law Firm,LLP. We are committed to protecting the rights of injured Texans and we will pursue every option available in helping you to recover for your injury claim.

The Barnes Law Firm,LLP works strictly on a contingent fee basis and advances all upfront costs of a case which include, investigation, case development, litigation, expert witnesses and court costs. Those expenses, in addition to our fee, are deducted from the ultimate recovery. But if we are not successful in a recovery in your case, we absorb all costs and charge no fee.

At the Barnes Law Firm,LLP in Houston , Texas , we are experienced accident and injury lawyers. We represent victims injured throughout the Houston, Texas area, including , Sugarland, Missouri City, Baytown, The Woodlands, Pasadena, Channelview, Katy and the Houston Texas metro area. Contact us to arrange a free initial consultation and evaluation of your Federal Tort Claim injury.