Government contractors are individuals or companies contracted by the United States government to design, develop and produce various products. Military contractors are the most common type of government contractors.
Contractors acting within the scope of their contracts with the government generally have what is called limited government immunity. The rationale for this immunity status is that if contractors were liable for all injuries they incurred in designing and developing products for the government prices would be too high for the government to afford hiring outside contractors.
Government contractor’s immunity is not infinite and there are some important limitations. These limitations include the following:
- Contractors are not immune if they failed to warn of defects that it knew about and didn’t inform the federal government of.
- Contractors must comply with the specifications of the federal government. If the contractor didn”t follow the specifications of the government it should be held liable.
- If a product was purchased from a contractor that was not specifically making the product for the federal government then immunity would not apply.
Government contractors that are afraid of not getting immunity should check their contracts. In addition, these parties should check all documentation to make sure the government’s instructions were followed explicitly. If the government’s instructions were not followed exactly then these parties should make sure that the government gave clearance to make these alterations.
There are occasions in which a private contractor takes over state functions. Some examples include security of airports and prisons. These situations may render private contractors liable to individuals who are injured by their own negligence. Private contractors, therefore, should be very careful when taking over government contracts.
An experienced business attorney can help private contractors involved with the federal government. In addition, experienced contracts attorneys can help to write contracts that ensure desired governmental immunity.