Cases are typically processed at either a state or federal level, and this also includes personal injury lawsuits and civil cases. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the vast majority of civil cases are filed in state courts, with statistics revealing that approximately 16.3 million civil cases were filed in state courts in one year. However, a significant amount is also filed in federal court, with statistics revealing that 274,841 civil cases were filed in federal court in that same year. Whenever a case is appealed, the type of appeal not only depends on the type of case that is being appealed, but the type of court is also taken into consideration. While many personal injury case appeals fall under the civil appeals category at a state level, some of these cases are also federal appeals.
It has also been reported that the number of federal personal injury cases has actually increased significantly over the years; they have gone up by almost 30 percent in the last full calendar year. Even though these numbers have gone up, federal personal injury cases are still somewhat unique compared to other types of personal injury cases, such as those processed at a state level. There are certain criteria that may turn state-level personal injury cases or standard civil personal injury cases into federal personal injury cases. For example, some cruise ship injury cases may need to be processed as federal cases. This may depend on the maritime laws governing the specific location of the cruise ship accident. Law.com uses an example of a passenger who was injured on an Alaskan cruise ship and who was required to file their lawsuit in the federal court system. Other examples of personal injury cases that might be processed in a federal court include:
- Accidents and injuries occurring in certain department store chains, who (along with their insurance carriers) have opted to move claims over to the federal court
- Slip and fall accidents on government-owned premises, such as a post office
- Negligence involving a government employee, such as a Veterans Administration doctor
If your claim involves a federal facility or government employee, it may be a claim that falls under the Federal Tort Claims Act, or simply known as FTCA. However, not all claims are eligible to be filed under FTCA, and must meet specific criteria to proceed. Generally speaking, only claims involving negligence and accidents, as opposed to intentional harm, can be pursued under FTCA, and the negligent individual must be a federal government employee (independent contractors that work for the federal government often cannot be included in this provision). Additionally, the negligent act must have been directly related to their scope of employment in some way. And while it is technically a federal claim, state law does come into play and may have an influence over whether it is an eligible FTCA claim or not.
The first step toward filing an FTCA claim is to file an administrative claim with the specific government agency you are taking action against. It’s known as an administrative claim while it is under review before moving on to the next step. This initial claim must be filed within two years of the incident and the agency has six months to respond to this claim and determine whether it is valid. If your claim is refused, you can pursue a lawsuit, but you’ll only have six months from the date your claim was rejected in order to file your lawsuit.
Personal injury claims filed in federal court can be complex enough as it is, especially if they require litigation through a federal court. If the claim is appealed, that can just complicate things even more and extensively delay the entire settlement process, which can add a tremendous amount of stress to an already challenging situation.
If your federal personal injury claim is currently being appealed and the appeal is holding things up, you likely have a lot of questions and concerns. You may be wondering how your lawsuit is affected and the timeline of your settlement. Your lawyer may be able to help clarify these things, but it can also be difficult to pinpoint a lawsuit’s timeline, especially when an appeal becomes part of the process.
At USClaims, the solution we offer to plaintiffs looking to receive money sooner is a lawsuit advance, which is also referred to as pre-settlement funding. This service enables plaintiffs with qualifying lawsuits to receive money upfront while waiting for their cases to settle. Between appeals and other hurdles, settling a federal lawsuit can be a time-consuming endeavor, but USClaims takes the stress out of the financial aspect of this process through our pre-settlement funding services. Contact us today to learn more and to find out if your case is eligible.