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Office of General Counsel

Claims Under the Federal Tort Claims Act

The Federal Tort Claims Act prescribes a uniform procedure for handling of claims against the United States, for money damages only, on account of damage to or loss of property, or personal injury or death, caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of a Government employee while acting within the scope of his or her office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.

A claim against the United States, predicated on a negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs acting within the scope of his or her employment, may be filed by the injured person or his or her legal representative using Standard Form 95, Claim for Damage, Injury, or Death; however, use of the SF 95 is not mandatory, so long as the requirements are met that there is a signature of the appropriate claimant, sufficient information to investigate the allegation, and a sum certain demand.  The completed and signed claim should be submitted directly to the Regional Counsel having jurisdiction of the area wherein the occurrence complained of took place.  A tort claim must be filed within two years of the date the claim accrued. This generally means that the Regional Counsel must receive the completed claim form within two years of the accident or injury which gave rise to the claim, but may run from the time when the claimant knew or should have known of the injury.

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