US Army Claims
THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD STRONGLY CONSIDER THE BENEFITS OF CONSULTING WITH A TRAINED LEGAL PROFESSIONAL
How to file a claim against the United States Army:
In the case of a negligent or wrongful act by the Army against a claimant, the claimant has the right to file a lawsuit against the military. In order to file a claim, the injured party must first file a Standard Form 95 (SF95) to inform the U.S. of his/her intent to file. Filing an SF95 gives the agency an opportunity to settle before reaching court and relieves court congestion.
The SF95 should include two things – the nature of pleading and the sum certain.
The nature of pleading consists of all the circumstances surrounding the case, including any relevant facts, medical records, police reports, and signed statements. The claimant should number all records and provide a table of contents to make the document easily accessible.
The sum certain is an exact amount of monetary damages claimed. It is important to state, in writing, the amount requested. Failure to state a sum certain constitutes a fatal defect in the claim.
The claim must be filed at an appropriate agency within two years of injury or loss. The claim should be submitted by an attorney or legal representative and/or signed by the injured party. After the claim in filed, there is a mandatory six-month investigation/settlement period, where the agency is given the opportunity to settle with the claimant and the case is investigated. If no settlement is reached after six months, the claimant has an additional six months to file a lawsuit.
One of our clients, who we will name as Ms. Anna Martin, was forced to file a claim against the U.S. Army. Ms. Martin volunteered at a Good Will thrift store at an army base, a building which had some construction defects. A set of metal stairs led outside, and the Army neglected to install stair grips or an awning to keep the stairs dry. The day Ms. Martin left the thrift store, it had been raining, and the stairs were slippery. With no hand grips, Ms. Martin fell down the flight of stairs and hurt her back and elbow. She was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a compound fracture in her elbow and another in her wrist.
Ms. Martin was forced to pay for some of her medical bills out of pocket, and was left with painful scars on her forearm. The accident limited her range of motion and prevented her from making a fist or grabbing small objects. She required more than a year of physical therapy.
The U.S. Army was negligent in their failure to maintain the staircase, despite their knowledge that it became slippery when wet. Because of the Army’s knowledge of the dangerous staircase coupled with their refusal to repair it, they have the duty to compensate Anna Martin for her injuries and medical bills.