Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about suing the Air Force for the Sutherland Springs mass shooting tragedy.
1. Why Is The Air Force Responsible?
The Air Force admits it that it failed enter a domestic violence court-martial into a federal database that would have blocked the gunman from buying the guns used in the attack. The Air Force was required by federal law to share this information. If the Air Force entered him into the national database, he could not have purchased the guns used.
2. Can The Air Force Be Sued for the Sutherland Springs Shooting?
Yes, when the negligence of federal employees cause a foreseeable injury, the government can be sued for damages. There are some limits to when the government can be sued, but Congress gave Americans this legal remedy in the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
3. Who Can Bring A Lawsuit?
In an FTCA claim in Texas, parents, spouses and children of the decedent can bring a wrongful death case. In the case of serious injury, the injured person (and sometimes their spouse, parents and/or children) can bring claims.
4. How Do You Sue The Air Force?
First, a SF 95 administrative claim must be presented. This claim has many requirements and should be completed with a lawyer. Six months later, a claim may be filed in federal court if a settlement has not been reached administratively.
5. How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?
Claims must be presented within 2 years of negligence unless it could not have been discovered earlier. Sutherland Springs victims should have 2 years from November 6, 2017 to bring a claim because that is when Air Force negligence was discovered.
6. What Damages Can Be Recovered For Death?
In a Texas wrongful death FTCA claim, parents, spouses and children may recover damages for mental anguish, loss of companionship and society, and loss of financial contributions. Funeral and burial and medial expenses may be recovered by the decedent’s estate. Damages caps do not apply to this case, but punitive damages are not allowed.
7. What Damages Can Be Recovered For Injury?
In a Texas personal injury case under the FTCA, injured victims can recover past and future medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity, physical pain and mental anguish, physical and mental impairment and physical disfigurement. For very serious injuries, the spouse and children of the victim may recover loss of consortium damages.
8. What Do Your Attorneys Charge?
Under the FTCA, attorneys’ fees are capped at 20% of the recovery if the case settles administratively, or 25% of recovery after suit is filed. Our attorneys do not charge a retainer and there is no attorneys’ fee if there is no recovery. Likewise, we advance all necessary case expenses which are reimbursed only if there is a recovery. If our clients do not recover, they never pay case expenses or an attorneys’ fee.
9. Is This A Class Action?
No. Class actions cannot be brought against the federal government. Every person injured (including spouses, children and/or parents of the injured or deceased) must individually bring a claim against the Air Force under the FTCA.
10. What Experience Do You Have Suing The Air Force?
Our firm has decades of experience handling FTCA claims. Our firm obtained one of the highest judgments against the Air Force in the 70+ year history of the FTCA right here in San Antonio, Texas. We have even taken a case against the Air Force all the way to the United States Supreme Court.