The Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946
was passed following the 1945 crash of a B-25 Mitchell bomber
, piloted in thick fog
by Lieutenant Colonel William F. Smith, Jr.
into the north side of the Empire State Building
. Although the crash was not initial catalyst for the the bill, which had been pending in Congress for more than two decades, the statute was made retoactive to 1945 in order to allow victims of that crash to seek recovery.