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Published: December 14, 2022

What is a Tort Claim?


Was your home lost to wildfire caused by firefighters acting outside their specific authorities, like burning huge areas of forest on purpose to achieve resource management objectives or for reasons other than putting out the fire? They call such fires “restoration wildfires,” “managed fires,” “reintroducing fire to fire-depleted ecosystems,” and a host of other names that mean something other than wildfire suppression.

How do you know when to file a tort claim? What fires are eligible for damages to be compensated by federal tort claims?

These are all common questions we receive at Wildfire Pros after a wildfire has occurred. If your home was lost due to a wildfire that was caused or encouraged by federal officers doing things like letting small fires burn or lighting burnouts, you might be eligible for compensation by filing a tort claim.

What is a Tort Claim?

“Tort” means “harm.” While the government does not allow you to sue the sovereign without the sovereign's permission, in cases where federal officers cause harm by acting outside of their statutory authorities, you may file a tort claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

If your property has been damaged or destroyed by a wildfire, you may be able to file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA allows U.S. citizens to sue the federal government for damages caused by the negligence of a federal employee.

A federal tort claim is a government-sanctioned action to recover damages. There are many types of torts, but some of the most common include negligence, intentional misconduct, and strict liability. If your home was destroyed or damaged in a wildfire, you may be able to file a tort claim against the agency or party responsible for causing the fire to cause a tort to you or your property.

How do you know if your case is eligible?

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if your case is even eligible for a tort claim. In 2020, over $200 million in claims were made against the United States Forest Service following the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek fires in central Utah.

In some cases, fires are eligible for damages to be funded by federal tort claims. To qualify, a fire must have occurred on public land managed by the United States Forest Service or another federal agency.

If your home or property has been damaged in a wildfire, contact us today to get help understanding whether you qualify. We will help you file a tort claim. We provide two reports that will help you understand whether you have a claim called a “Legal Liability of the Forest Service” report, and a Wildfire Impact Analysis to determine the nature and value of damages. It is important to keep detailed records of all costs associated with your property damage to help calculate how much money you are owed.

We understand how important it is to get your claim filed quickly and accurately, so we provide complete guidance throughout the process. We will work with you to assess the damage caused by the fire and determine what amount of money would be most appropriate to claim. We will also assist with the paperwork and documentation associated with filing a tort claim. Our team is well-versed in all aspects of Federal tort claims, so you can be sure that we provide you with accurate information at every step.

No matter what happens with your Federal Tort Claims Act claim or lawsuit, it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Wildfire Pros is here to help you seek the peace of mind you deserve. If you need assistance filing a claim or appealing a decision, do not hesitate to reach out for help.
There is a time limit after a wildfire for filing tort claims, so initiating the process immediately after the damage is crucial. Contact us today at (605) 440-2039 to learn more about how we can help you in the event of a wildfire.

Who Can File a Claim?

Wildfire Pros will help you find out if you are eligible to file a claim under the FTCA if your property was damaged or destroyed by a wildfire. For example, if a Forest Service employee started a fire that burned your home, you may be eligible to file a claim against the government.

What Damages Can You Recover?

If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover damages for:
-The value of your property that was destroyed in the fire
-The cost of repairing any damage to your property
-Heritage trees and loss of wildlife habitats
-Aesthetic values lost in the fire
-Diminished property values
-Weed abatement
-Erosion control
-Medical costs
-Wrongful death
-Personal injury
-Emotional distress

The list goes on. “Most people simply don’t understand how substantial these claims can be,” said Wildfire Pros President Frank Carroll. “It’s really breathtaking when people confront the costs of trying to recover from wildfires and post-fire flooding.”

How Much Will You Receive?

The amount of damages you recover will depend on the extent of the damage to your property. If you have been affected by a wildfire, you may be eligible to file a claim and recover damages for property damage, personal injury, wrongful death, and other losses.

If your home or business has been affected by a wildfire, do not hesitate to contact Wildfire Pros today. We are here to help with the claims process! Our team of experienced professionals will guide you through the entire process from start to finish so that you can get back on your feet as quickly as possible. Forest fires are unpredictable and out of our control. However, with Wildfire Pros on your side, filing a Federal tort claim does not have to be stressful or confusing! We offer advice on ensuring that any tort claim is successful. We understand this process can be and are available to answer any questions or concerns about making an insurance claim for damages. Contact us today for more information about our services.

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