Terrorism Claims

Washington, D.C. Terrorism Claim Lawyers

Holding Foreign Governments Accountable for Damages in Terrorist Attacks

Most personal injury or wrongful death claims are not associated with terroristic attacks. Unfortunately, while we do not plan for these horrific attacks, they continue to occur more often every year, causing damage to those involved. 

At Fay Law Group, our attorneys have protected the rights of victims who have suffered injuries at the hands of terrorists. Founding attorney Thomas Fay began working with families involved in the 1983 Beirut bombing and helped to pioneer the use of the FSIA, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which was written to recover civil and punitive damages against state sponsors of terrorism. 

Thus, we became the first law firm to accept and pursue claims against international terrorists who have harmed Americans and their families. Led by Mr. Fay, our firm has prosecuted cases on behalf of terrorist attack victims obtaining judgments exceeding $900 million entered against foreign state sponsors of terrorism. This has resulted in the Civil Justice Foundation Award with a Special Commendation presented to Mr. Fay in 2002. 

If you have been impacted by a terrorist act, our attorneys at Fay Law Group understand what you are going through and would like to extend a helping hand to you and your family. Let us use our experience and skills to help you move forward at one of the most challenging times in your life. 

Understanding Sovereign Immunity

In injury cases, civil claims are made as a way to recover damages that allow you to move past the act that caused your suffering and return to your normal life as much as possible. If you have been negatively impacted by state sponsors of terrorism, however, you may feel overwhelmed in making such a claim. According to many traditional principles of international law, you are generally prohibited from bringing a claim against a foreign state. Nonetheless, exceptions exist. We would like to help you understand sovereign immunity and how we can assist you with your claim. 

Sovereign immunity has existed for a long time in the United States and dictates the rules on whether or not a judge or certain governments can be sued due to official acts. These laws are designed to protect individuals in government positions so that they can perform their jobs without fear of litigation looming overhead. Without these laws, for example, it would be difficult to find police officers that would want to work for fear of being arrested in some way for helping the public. 

In the U.S., sovereign immunity exists on both federal and state levels. States are not permitted to be sued unless they have consented to be sued. Specific laws have now been put in place allowing you to work around these regulations. Before this point, the laws could have kept you from receiving the compensation you deserve. For instance, with the introduction of the Federal Tort Claims Act, you are now permitted to sue a federal employee who has caused you negligent harm in some way.

Understanding Your Exceptions to Sovereign Immunity

Our attorneys at Fay Law Group are experienced in helping you navigate the laws that dictate sovereign immunity and work past these laws so that you can gain the compensation you deserve for injuries and damages sustained. 

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA): The FSIA was officially enacted by President Gerald Ford in 1976 and establishes limitations to sovereign immunity. This allows you to move forward with a claim even in cases where sovereign immunity was previously applied. The FSIA originally did not provide ways for victims involved in terrorist attacks to sue foreign governments for their role in these terrorist acts. However, attorney Thomas Fortune Fay pioneered the movement toward necessary legislative changes to put into place exceptions to ensure the victims of terrorist attacks maintain the rights they deserve. 

The FSIA now works to hold at-fault government officials and agencies accountable for funding and aiding terrorist groups who cause harm to U.S. citizens. If you are seeking compensation as an individual or the family of a loved one whose life was taken during these acts, you have many rights under the law. Our attorneys at Fay Law Group are here to assist you. 

Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC): The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission operates within the Department of Justice and is responsible for adjudicating claims on behalf of U.S. citizens who have suffered violations of their rights by foreign governments. This means that, if you have been harmed by a foreign terrorist group operating under a nation, you will be able to settle your claim with the help of FCSC so that you receive the monetary compensation you deserve.

Recovering Damages from State Sponsors of Terrorism

Traditional principles of international law and sovereign immunity generally prohibit a private citizen from suing a foreign state, government, or head of state for any tort, including personal injury or wrongful death claims related to terrorism. Federal law has recognized certain specific exceptions to the sovereign immunity doctrine, however, including exceptions related to state terrorism. Fay Law Group knows how to apply these exceptions to sovereign immunity for the benefit of the victims of international terrorism.

We have pursued civil damages claims under the FSIA against such nations as Iran, Libya, and Sudan for incidents of terrorism, and we can pursue claims against any state terrorist sponsor for:

  • Bombings
  • Air or sea hijackings
  • Kidnappings
  • Piracy
  • Hostage situations
  • Torture
  • Land mine injuries or deaths

Terrorism Claims We Have Pursued 

Our attorneys at Fay Law Group are committed to helping all citizens who have fallen victim to serious terrorist acts. We have helped the victims of terrorism in the past and can help you, too.

The following are incidents in which our team has participated.

Beirut Bombing: We assisted and represented those who were affected by the October 23, 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The attacks began when a dump truck loaded with approximately 12,000 pounds of explosives came through the front gates of U.S. barracks in Beirut, killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and three soldiers. Another truck then drove through the French barracks with explosives and killed 58 French soldiers. After an investigation, it was discovered that the Islamic Jihad Organization was responsible for the attacks. 

In 2018, a federal judge granted a judgment of $920 million for 80 victims of the 1983 bombings. Iran faced a lawsuit in connection with the bombings for sponsoring the Lebanese terrorist group, Hezbollah, who carried out the attacks. A bank account with $2 billion was frozen so that those who were injured or killed could receive the compensation they deserved, especially since families are still, and may always be, suffering the aftermath of these serious attacks. 

East Africa Bombing: We also assisted the victims of the 1998 East Africa Bombing. This incident took place on the morning of August 7, 1998, when trucks with explosives approached the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tanzania. Both trucks gained entry and detonated around the same time, killing 224 people and wounding over 5,000 more. Twelve of those who lost their lives in the Kenya bombing were identified as American citizens. These attacks were found to be linked to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda groups. 

These attacks specifically brought Osama bin Laden to the attention of the United States for the first time. It was also these attacks that put bin Laden on the FBI’s list of the 10 most wanted fugitives. Over 20 people have since been indicted in the United States for their role in the bombings and eight are currently still in prison for their roles in the bombings. 

Even though decades have passed since these terrorist attacks occurred, our attorneys understand that many families are still suffering in their aftermath. We want to help you gain momentum in your case as you attempt to regain normalcy. Our firm is here to fight aggressively for those who fall victim to these incidents every year. 

Damages in a Personal Injury Case Stemming from a Terrorist Attack

If you have been injured in a terrorist attack in recent years and find it difficult to get back to your life, you likely have questions about the damages you can pursue in your claim. Many of the injuries caused by terrorist attacks are serious, brutal, and even permanent, impacting lives forever. Medical bills may spiral out of control. Returning to your job or career may be impossible. For these reasons, you may be entitled to recover a wide range of damages in your case. 

Many of the recoverable damages are compensatory damages, which are the monetary expenses that you have incurred because of your injuries. They are awarded to make victims whole for these expenses. 

Some of the most common types of special damages include the following: 

  • Lost earnings due to the inability to return to work
  • Loss of future earnings if returning to work in the future is not possible
  • Medical bills associated with your injuries
  • Cost of future medical care and therapies
  • Household expenses and medical equipment
  • Money used to get to appointments (travel expenses) 

You may be able to receive general damages as well, which are non-monetary damages. These damages are not as easy to value due to being based on emotional impact. 

Some of the most common types of general damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium or companionship

Beyond these, many terrorist claims include punitive damages. These are only awarded to an injured plaintiff when a defendant has acted egregiously with outright recklessness and disregard for human life. Such behavior is common in claims against terrorists, who intend harm to those involved in these attacks. When malicious acts take place, you can allege punitive damages, which are meant to punish a defendant for their actions and deter these acts in the future. 

If You Have Lost a Loved One to a Terrorist Attack

In many terrorist attacks, innocent lives are lost, as this is the goal of terrorist groups. Wrongful death suits are governed by state laws, which means that each claim across state lines will differ from state to state. However, you can also bring wrongful death claims against foreign nationals for their role in the loss of your loved one. 

Different parties can bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved ones. One of the parties that could file a wrongful death claim would be the personal representative of an estate. This is usually the closest surviving relative of a loved one, including the spouse, child, or parent. The family will typically decide who will act as the personal representative of the estate but, in some cases, they will be court-appointed. 

Damages in a wrongful death claim can include lost monetary support no longer received as a dependent of the deceased. Additional damages can include loss of consortium to a spouse for the loss of their partner, incurred medical bills, pain and suffering your loved one experienced before death, and funeral and burial costs. 

Speak with a Washington, D.C. Terrorism Claim Attorney

At Fay Law Group, we are here to hold liable parties accountable for their wrongdoing and help you secure the compensation you deserve for what you have suffered. If you have been impacted by a terrorist attack, find out more about how we can help with civil litigation against foreign governments in a complimentary consultation. 

You can discuss your case with a Washington, D.C. terrorism claim attorney in a free initial consultation. Contact Fay Law Group online or by phone at (202) 589-1300 today.

Why Choose Fay Law Group

  • Free Initial Consultations
  • Phone Answered 24 Hours a Day
  • No Fees Unless We Win
  • Services Available in Spanish
  • Over 50 Years of Experience


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