Have you been hit by a mail truck or other official United States Postal Service (USPS) vehicle? Although these circumstances might seem rare, these accidents do happen. Unlike other vehicle accidents, different laws and rules apply when filing legal claims for accidents involving post office vehicles or other official federal government vehicles. This is because the United States Post Office is a federal government agency.
Having an experienced car accident lawyer and understanding the unique process of making a claim against the USPS can increase the possibility of a payout, ensuring your damages and expenses are rightfully covered.
When you consider that the USPS drivers are just regular people, it isn’t surprising to hear that wrecks are common. The USPS reported that more than 26,000 drivers were in motor vehicle accidents in 2020: more than half of those employees had little USPS driving experience.
The Post Office reported more than 11,000 of those accidents occurred when the vehicle was traveling straight, and that two-thirds of the fatal accidents involved employees without seatbelts.
Distractions on the road or driving hastily contributed to the crashes.
When you compare the proceedings of a normal car crash with those of a mail truck related crash, there are some slight differences. Because post office workers are considered federal employees, any claims and proceedings will follow the Federal Tort Claims Act, instead of a state law, which is typically the situation for a car crash.
The FTCA is very specific and only allows you to sue the United States rather than the USPS or the individual USPS employee who may have hit you.
There can be some confusion around federal vehicles, especially because they don’t technically fall under state regulations. A common misconception is that federal vehicles always have the right-of-way: in reality, mail drivers should follow the same right-of-way laws as everyone and can be sued if they drive recklessly.
It should also be noted that it is not a felony to hit a mail truck unless you do it on purpose. If a mail truck is driven negligently and it causes a wreck, the driver can be held responsible through the FTCA.
After an accident with a mail carrier, you’ll follow the FTCA to seek compensation.
Under the FTCA, you have two years after the accident to file your Form 95 claim. An attorney can help you fill out the form which can help eliminate errors. The USPS can investigate your claim in the six months after you file your damages claim.
They can attempt to settle or enter negotiations with you in those six months, but if they don’t respond after the deadline passes, you are able to file a lawsuit. If you choose to file a lawsuit, it will be with a federal court.
Each case is unique, but in 2017, the USPS paid nearly $80 million for minor property damage and serious personal injury claims. Your car accident attorney will be able to help determine your claim’s worth and argue for maximum compensation.
You can report any unsafe driving incidents involving a USPS vehicle to the service’s toll-free hotline (1-800-275-8777) Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., or on Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also complete a report on the USPS website.
If you can, record the vehicle’s identification number, the date, time, and location of the incident.
If you have been involved in a vehicle accident with a USPS mail truck or other official vehicle driven by a USPS employee or other federal agency employee, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.
Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. Over our more than 15 years in existence, the aggressive attorneys of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. have represented clients who have been injured in accidents involving federal agencies. We are well versed in the often arcane details and procedures of the FTCA and claims under the FTCA. Therefore, we will be able to provide you with a level of skill and know-how that will enable you to obtain maximum recovery for any injuries or financial losses caused by a USPS employee in the course of your accident.