1 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Wshington, D.C ACTION BY: All Divisions nd Offices FGIS Directive FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS I PURPOSE This Instruction: A Sets forth the bsic provisions of the Federl Tort Clims Act; nd B Prescribes procedures in the Agriculturl Mrketing Service (AMS) for inititing, hndling, nd pying tort clims. II BASIC PROVISIONS OF THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT Under the provisions of the Federl Tort Clims Act (28 U.S.C ), the U.S. Deprtment of Agriculture my receive nd settle clims ginst the United Sttes for deth, personl injury, or property loss or dmge llegedly cused by the negligent or wrongful ct or omission of ny employee of the Deprtment. The employee shll hve been cting within the scope of his office or employment under circumstnces where the United Sttes, if it were privte person, would be lible in ccordnce with the lw of the plce where the ct or omission occurred. The Federl Tort Clims Act does not pply outside the United Sttes. For informtion on obtining libility insurnce for the opertion of motor vehicle in foreign country, see AMS Instruction 371-3, Accident Libility. NOTE: AMS employees involved in clim shll not, under ny circumstnces, ssume libility for dmges on behlf of the U.S. Government nor dvnce ny opinions s to the merits of ny clim. III CLAIMS A Plce of Filing. Clims involving field or Wshington Metropolitn Are hedqurters office employees shll be submitted to the Fiscl Services Brnch, Finncil Services (FS) Division. B Limittions. 1 A climnt my file clim with the Deprtment under the Federl Tort Clims Act only for injury to or loss of property, or for personl injury or deth llegedly cused by negligent or wrongful ct or omission on the prt of n employee of AMS. 2 A clim must be presented, in writing, within two yers fter the dte the clim ccrues. 3 Suit in United Sttes District Court my be instituted on the clim only fter the climnt shll hve first presented his clim to the Deprtment for dministrtive
2 determintion nd the clim is denied. However, if the Deprtment hs not tken ction to settle or deny the clim within six months from the dte of filing, the climnt my, t his option, file suit in n pproprite United Sttes District Court. Legl ction must be strted within six months fter the dte of notifiction to the climnt of the finl denil of the clim by the Deprtment. 4 All clims for injury or dmge llegedly cused by n AMS employee must be filed with the Deprtment. There is no monetry limit. IV PRESENTATION OF CLAIMS A Persons Who My Present Clims. The following persons or groups my present clims: 1 The climnt (the injured prty or the one suffering loss or dmge) my file on his own behlf. 2 A legl representtive or duly uthorized gent my file on behlf of the climnt. He must: File in the nme of the climnt; b Submit evidence of his uthority to present the clim; nd c Sign the clim nd stte his title or legl cpcity, such s gent, executor, dministrtor, prent, gurdin, or other representtive. 3 Insurers with the rights of subrogee, upon presenttion of evidence of their right to present the clim, my file to cover clims for losses: Wholly compensted by n insurer; or b Prtilly compensted by n insurer or the insured, individully s their respective interests pper, or jointly. B Forms nd Supporting Documents Required. A climnt, s shown in prgrph A bove, who desires to present clim under the Act, my request SF-95, Clim for Dmge, Injury, or Deth, either from the AMS office employing the person who llegedly committed the negligent or wrongful ct or from the Fiscl Services Brnch, FS Division. Should the request be filed with locl AMS office, tht office shll forwrd it promptly to the Fiscl Services Brnch, FS Division. The SF-95 must show the proper ddress for return miling. Clims for deth, personl injury, nd property loss or dmge must be filed on the sme form. Seprte clims for ech will not be ccepted. SF-95 must be completed in ccordnce with instructions printed on the form. It must be submitted with the following supporting ppers or informtion s pplicble: 1 Deth Clim. An uthenticted deth certificte or other competent evidence showing the cuse of deth, the dte of deth, nd the ge of the decedent t the time of deth.
3 b A sttement giving the decedent's employment or occuption t the time of deth including: (1) His monthly or yerly slry or ernings; nd (2) Durtion of his lst employment or occuption. c A list of the full nmes, ddresses, birth dtes, kinship nd mritl sttus of the decedent's survivors, including identifiction of those survivors who were dependent for support upon the decedent t the time of his deth. d Degree of support fforded by the decedent to ech survivor dependent upon him for support t the time of his deth. e A sttement concerning the decedent's generl physicl nd mentl condition immeditely prior to deth. f An itemized bill, or receipts of pyment, for: (1) Medicl expenses incurred by reson of the incident cusing deth; nd (2) Buril expenses. g A physicin's detiled sttement, if dmges for pin nd suffering prior to deth re climed, specifying: (1) The injuries suffered; (2) The durtion of the pin nd suffering; (3) Drugs dministered for pin, if ny; nd (4) The decedent's physicl condition in the intervl between injury nd deth. h Other evidence or informtion which my hve bering on either: 2 Personl Injury Clim. (1) The responsibility of the United Sttes for the deth; or (2) The mount of dmges climed. A report signed by the ttending physicin or dentist setting forth the following: (1) The nture nd extent of the injury; (2) The nture nd extent of the tretment; (3) The degree of temporry or permnent disbility; (4) The period of hospitliztion;
4 (5) The prognosis; nd The extent of diminished erning cpcity. b A sttement tht the climnt hs or will mke vilble to the Deprtment ny previous or future reports by physicins concerning his physicl or mentl condition s relted to the injury for which clim is mde. c Itemized bills for medicl, dentl, nd hospitl expenses incurred, or itemized receipts of pyments for such expenses. d A sttement of estimted costs for future tretment, if the ttending physicin's prognosis indictes the need for such e A signed sttement from the climnt's employer showing: (1) The sttus of the injured personts employment, e.g., full or prt-time; (2) The mount of ctul time lost from employment; nd (3) The mount of wges or slry lost, should the clim involve loss of time from employment. f Documentry evidence showing the mount of ernings ctully lost, if the clim involves loss of income nd the climnt is self-employed. g Other evidence or informtion which my hve bering on the responsibilities of the United Sttes for either the personl injury or the dmges climed. (The climnt my be required to submit to physicl or mentl exmintion by physicin employed by the Deprtment or ny other Federl gency. A copy of the report shll be mde vilble to the climnt upon his written request if he hs complied with subprgrph bove.) 3 Property Loss or Dmge Clim. Proof of ownership of the property. b A detiled sttement of the mount climed with respect to ech item of property, if more thn one. c An itemized receipt for pyment mde for necessry repirs or t lest two written estimtes of the cost of such repirs. d A sttement listing dte of purchse, purchse price, nd slvge vlue, if repir of the property is not fesible or economicl. e Other evidence or informtion which my hve bering on the responsibility of the United Sttes for either the dmges to or loss of property or the dmges climed. V AMS RESPONSIBILITIES
5 A The locl office to which the employee, who llegedly committed the negligent or wrongful ct or omission, is ssigned shll: 1 Dte stmp, on the dy of receipt, ech document received in connection with clim. This is importnt since mny clims re mde in the form of letters, repir estimtes, or some other document prior to the filing of the forml clim on SF-95. These documents might constitute vlid clim in writing in the event the forml clim is not submitted within the sttutory filing period of two yers. 2 Forwrd ny correspondence or supporting documents received from the climnt or his ttorney to the Fiscl Services Brnch, FS Division. If the clim results from n utomobile ccident, the following shll be furnished: The Government driver's utomobile libility insurnce policy in those cses where the vehicle operted by the Government driver is not owned or lesed by the Government. (The policy itself or reproduced copy is required; not Certificte of Insurnce, extension certificte, etc.) If the driver does not crry utomobile libility insurnce, the file should so indicte. It is not necessry to include the policy in those cses where the vehicle is owned or lesed by the Government. b The police report, if ny. If there ws no police report, the file should so indicte. c Informtion s to the disposition, by court or otherwise, of police chrges ginst ny person involved. If there hs not been disposition of chrges, the file should so indicte. d Other pertinent informtion relting to the clim, such s mps, digrms, nd chrts. B The Fiscl Services Brnch, FS Division, shll: 1 Enter the full ddress of tht office in the "Submit to" spce t the top of n SF-95 nd furnish it to the climnt upon his request. 2 Inform the climnt tht: The completed SF-95 nd supporting documenttion, s set forth on the bck of the form, should be returned to the ddress shown; b Finl disposition of the clim will be under the jurisdiction of the Generl Counsel of the Deprtment; nd c Inquiries concerning the progress of the clim, fter submission of SF-95 nd necessry documenttion, should be directed to the Office of the Generl Counsel (OGC). 3 Send copy of the SF-95 trnsmittl to the locl office.
6 4 If the clim results from n utomobile ccident, send the completed SF-95, ll supporting documents, nd the ccident file to the PE Division for exmintion by the AMS Accident Review Bord. The ccident file consists of the forms nd reports prescribed by AMS Instruction 371-1, Investigting nd Reporting Accidents. 5 Send the entire file to OGC fter it hs been cted upon nd returned by the AMS Accident Review Bord or when it is initilly received if the clim did not result from n utomobile ccident. 6 Obligte the mount of the clim, if $2,500 or less. 7 Upon notifiction by OGC tht the clim hs been wrded, compromised, or settled: Prepre SF-1145, Voucher for Pyment Under Federl Tort Clims Act; b Send the originl SF-1145 to the climnt for signture; c Adjust the originl mount obligted, if required; nd d Retin the remining copies of SF-1145 in pending file. 8 Upon receipt of the signed originl of SF-1145 from the climnt, rrnge for pyment of the clim s follows: Pyments of $2,500 or Less. (1) Prepre SF-1166, Voucher nd Schedule of Pyments, for the mount of the wrd, compromise, or settlement. (2) Py the climnt from the pproprite obligted funds. b Pyments of $2,501 Through $100,000. Send the executed SF-1145 to the Clims Division, Generl Accounting Office, for pyment of ny wrd, compromise, or settlement of $2,501 through $100,000. When the wrd, compromise, or settlement is in excess of $25,000, the SF-1145 must be ccompnied by evidence tht the wrd, compromise or settlement hs been pproved by the Attorney Generl or his designee. (OGC will furnish this evidence.) Pyment will be mde from Generl Funds of the Tresury nd not from AMS ppropritions. c Pyments of $100,001 or More. Pyment of ny wrd, compromise, or settlement of $100,001 or more shll be obtined by forwrding the executed SF-1145 to the Bureu of Accounts, Deprtment of Tresury, together with the evidence tht the wrd, compromise, or settlement hs been pproved by the Attorney Generl or his designee. Pyment will be mde from the Generl Funds of the Tresury, not from
7 AMS ppropritions. d Pyment When Climnt Is Represented by n Attorney. When the climnt hs been represented by n ttorney, designte both the climnt nd his ttorney s pyees on SF Give the ddress of the ttorney s the plce to which the check should be miled. VI DETERMINATION OF CLAIMS The Generl Counsel of the Deprtment, or his designee, hs the uthority to consider, scertin, djust, determine, compromise, nd settle tort clims presented to the Deprtment. However, he will obtin pprovl of the Attorney Generl for those wrded, compromised, or settled for mounts in excess of $25,000. AMS nd the climnt will be notified of the determintion mde by the Generl Counsel, s follows: A Allownce of Clim. When clim is llowed in full or in prt, the Fiscl Services Brnch, FS Division, will be notified in writing. B Disllownce of Clim. When clim is denied, the climnt, his ttorney, or legl representtive will be notified, in writing, of the finl denil determintion. This notifiction will be mde by certified or registered mil nd will include sttement tht the climnt my, if disstisfied with the Deprtment's ction, file suit in n pproprite United Sttes District Court not lter thn six months fter the dte of notifiction miling. A copy of the denil determintion will be sent to the Fiscl Services Brnch, FS Division. VII ACCEPTANCE OF SETTLEMENT BY CLAIMANT As provided by sttute nd the Attorney Generl's regultions, cceptnce by the climnt, his gent, or legl representtive, of ny wrd, compromise, or settlement mde pursunt to the Federl Tort Clims Act shll be finl nd conclusive on the climnt, his gent, or legl representtive nd ny other person on whose behlf or for whose benefit the clim hs been presented. Acceptnce shll constitute complete relese of ny clim ginst the United Sttes nd ginst ny employee of the Government whose ct or omission gve rise to the clim. VIII SUITS AGAINST EMPLOYEES An employee served with ppers in suit rising out of the performnce of his officil duties should immeditely dvise the Officer in Chrge (if field employee) or the Administrtive Officer of the Division (if hedqurters employee). Tht officer shll immeditely dvise the Division Director nd the PE Division. The PE Division will contct officils in the Office of the Generl Counsel nd Office of the Inspector Generl s prescribed in AMS Instruction /s/ Richrd P. Brtlett, Jr. Deputy Administrtor, Mngement