Navigating the claims process: Construction on post may result in injury or property damage

All Things Legal

By Daniel A. Lauretano, Supervisory Attorney Advisor, Chief, Claims Division, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

For anyone who lives, works or visits Fort Meade, the following information is important to you.

Fort Meade is undergoing numerous construction, renovation and repair projects. It is a good sign of Fort Meade’s continued existence, and of its importance to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army.

With all of the activity, construction, and construction workers and vehicles coming and working on post, service members, government employees and contractors, family members, residents and visitors may be injured or experience property damage as a result of the construction activity.

The Fort Meade Office of the Staff Judge Advocate Claims Division is authorized to pay certain claims for injury, or damage to your personal property, in limited circumstances.

The Claims Division can pay for injury and damage caused to your personal property by a federal government employee who is negligent and on duty.

For example, if an on-duty Soldier or civilian employee on official government business runs a stop sign while driving a government-owned vehicle and strikes your vehicle, you would be able to recover for your damages from the U.S. Army by filing a claim with the Claims Division.

On the other hand, if an off-duty service member or civilian employee driving his own vehicle causes damage to your vehicle, you would have to file against their insurance carrier.

Regarding injury or damage caused to your property or vehicle by the construction activity on post, most of the construction is performed by civilian contractors, not federal government employees. Any damage caused by civilian contractors must be handled between you and the contractor — and against their insurance carrier.

Here are some tips to help you navigate this issue should you experience injury or property damage.

If you experience an injury or damage to your vehicle on post, call the Fort Meade Police. The police officer will, at minimum, memorialize that an accident occurred and record important information about the incident and persons involved.

Make sure you receive the following information from the party that caused you injury or damage to your property:

  • Name and phone number of the person who caused your damage
  • Supervisor’s name
  • Name of the civilian contractor/company employing the party at fault
  • Name, policy number and phone number of the civilian contractor’s insurance company
  • Name and phone number of any person that witnessed the event.

This information will assist you in filing a claim against the civilian contractor’s insurance company. If your insurance carrier pays for the damages, the above information will similarly assist your insurance company when it pursues the civilian contractor on your behalf.

For more information, call the Fort Meade Claims Office at 301-677-9960.

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