32 CFR 842.51 - Applicable law.
This paragraph provides the existing law governing liability, measurement of liability and the effects of settlement upon awards.
(a) Extent of liability. Where the claim arises is important in determining the extent of liability.
(1) When a claim arises in the United States, the law of the place where the act or omission occurred governs liability. The settlement authority considers the local law on such issues as dangerous instrumentalities, assumption of risk, res ipsa loquitur, last clear chance, discovered peril, and comparative and contributory negligence. Absolute liability is never imposed.
(2) Claims in foreign countries.
(i) In claims arising in a foreign country, where the claim is for personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of real or personal property caused by an act or omission alleged to be negligent, wrongful, or otherwise involving fault of military personnel or civilian officers or employees of the United States acting within the scope of their employment, liability or the United States is determined according to general principles of tort law common to the majority of American jurisdictions, as evidenced by Federal case law and standard legal publications, except as to the principle of absolute liability.
(ii) The law of the foreign country governing the legal effect of contributory or comparative negligence by the claimant will be applied in determining the relative merits of the claim. In the unusual situation where foreign law governing contributory or comparative negligence does not exist, use traditional rules of contributory negligence. Foreign rules and regulations governing the operation of motor vehicles (rules of the road) are applied to the extent those rules are not specifically superseded or preempted by United States military traffic regulations.
(4) The meaning and construction of the MCA is a Federal question to be determined by Federal law.
(b) General information: (1) The measure of daages in claims arising in the United States or its possessions is determined according to the law of the place where the act or omission occurred. The measure of damages in claims arising overseas is determined according to general principles of American tort law.
(2) Apportion damages against the United States in the same manner as they are apportioned in suites against private persons if local law applies comparative negligence.
(3) Do not deduct proceeds from private insurance policies except to the extent allowed by local law. However, proceeds are deducted if the policy was paid for by the United States.
(4) Deduct compensation and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or monetary value received from any U.S. Government associated source from the damages which may be awarded. Deduct sick and annual leave payments if local law allows.
(5) Do not approve:
(i) Punitive damages.
(ii) Cost of medical or hospital services furnished at U.S. expense.
(iii) Cost of burial expenses paid by the United States.
(c) Settlement by insurer or joint tort-feasor. When settlement is made by an insurer or joint tort-feasor and an additional award is warranted, an award may be made if both of the following are present:
(1) The United States is not protected by the release executed by the claimant.
(2) The total amount received from such source is first deducted.