For a claim of personal injury or property damage, that a person alleges has been caused by the negligent acts of an employee of the United States Government, federal law requires that the claimant file a written claim with the appropriate federal agency, in this case the U.S. Army Engineer District, New Orleans, Louisiana. The applicable law in this instance is the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 United States Code § 2671 et seq. A standard form must be used to submit a claim under the Tort Claims Act. A copy may be obtained and printed by clicking Form SF-95.
A claim against the United States, in particular against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, must be presented, in writing, within two years from the date that the cause of action occurred. The written claim must indicate the date and location at which the alleged negligent act/damage occurred. The written claim must include a specified "sum certain" amount of monetary damages that you seek from the government. You should state in your claim the damage that has occurred, and should state how you contend that the damage occurred (i.e., what acts of a government employee occurred that caused the damage you seek compensation for). If the claim is for personal injury or property damage, you should submit information that would substantiate your claim. Medical Records, estimates of repair, etc., should be submitted, along with any other documentation you think would support your claim.
Once the claim is received, this agency will have six months from the date of receipt in order to investigate and adjudicate your claim. It is possible that, if warranted, an administrative settlement could be negotiated with you. It is also possible that the claim could be denied. During the six months from the date of receipt of your written claim by the agency, you cannot file a lawsuit against the United States of America. A lawsuit against the United States cannot be filed until the following occurs:
1) Upon receipt of a final, written decision from the Agency, the claimant will have six months from the date of the decision in order to file suit;
2) Upon the expiration of six months from the date of receipt by the Agency of the claim, if no written final decision has been issued by the Agency, the claimant may, at his or her option, treat the inaction of the agency as a final denial, and proceed to file suit.
Exclusive jurisdiction against the United States for suits filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act lies with the appropriate United States District Court. Any lawsuit filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act must name the "United States of America," and not the particular agency, as the defendant.