Historically, a concept known as sovereign immunity prevented anyone from suing the king or the government. The Federal Tort Claims Act, however, permits Americans to sue federal employees who act negligently while in the scope of their employment. There are a lot more hoops to jump through, though, in pursuing a claim against the government. If a government worker’s negligence has injured you or a loved one, a Maryland personal injury lawyer can advise you of your rights.
Earlier in the year, the widow of a Maryland paramedic who died in a 2008 helicopter crash sued the federal government for $15 million, alleging that the air traffic controllers acted negligently. The paramedic and three others died in the crash of a med-evac flight that was transporting two teenagers injured in a car accident. In fog and increasing darkness, the helicopter pilot descended too quickly. The pilot’s widow claims that the air traffic controllers relayed weather information that was hours old. Federal investigators did find that the controllers contributed to the crash by providing the old weather information as well as for inadequately handling the flight in general.
Lawsuits such as the widow’s can force the government to look more closely at its training procedures and policies in the hope that such accidents never happen again. There have been problems with air traffic control for years, and inadequately trained and negligent air traffic controllers can put a lot of people at risk.