Tort claims act refers to legislation where the governmental entity gives up sovereign immunity protection, allowing it to be sued for the tortious activities of its employees within the scope of their employment.
The Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946 (FTCA) was a monumental bill that enabled the Federal government to be sued for tortious activities of its employees, similarly to any other employer. However, the FTCA limits the liability of the government in multiple ways such as not covering most intentional actions of employees and not allowing punitive damages. The laws that apply to a FTCA case often follow the rules and tort laws of the district court where the claim is filed.
Most states have tort claims acts similar to the FTCA which allow them to be sued but limit under what circumstances and how much damages can be awarded.
For more information on lawsuits against government entities, click here.
[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]