What Happens If You’re Injured in an Accident With a USPS Truck?
The employees and contractors of the United States Postal Service, or USPS, deliver 48% of the world’s mail. In 2019, that involved traveling 1.34 billion miles. Whether it’s in 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, or the individually-owned vehicles of many rural carriers, they’re all over the nation’s roads.
What happens if you’re involved in a USPS truck accident? What if you’re injured? There is a process for seeking compensation, but it’s very different from a typical collision or injury claim. Here’s what you should know about a postal truck accident lawsuit.
Every case is different. To get a personal case evaluation – absolutely free – call 1-866-900-7078.
Can I Sue for My Injury from an Accident with a USPS Truck?
Yes – but there is a specific process to do so. The Postal Service is part of the federal government, so bringing a lawsuit against them isn’t the same as suing a private individual or company (such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS). There are a variety of factors that can come into play, but the most important thing to know is that any lawsuit after being injured by a USPS truck happens based on a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
What Is the Federal Tort Claims Act and How Does It Affect Me After My USPS Truck Accident?
The FTCA is a complex law that allows specific types of lawsuits against federal government entities and employees who were acting within their scope of employment when they caused the injury. There are some very strict rules and guidelines that must be followed to successfully bring a suit.
The FTCA also bars certain types of claims under a doctrine called “sovereign immunity.” This probably won’t apply to your case, but it illustrates the many, many layers of the law.
How Do I Get Compensation for My Injury From a USPS Accident?
The FTCA has a process to follow. The first step through the FTCA is to make a claim. As in many personal injury cases we work, a lawsuit may not be necessary if the sides can come to an agreement. To make a claim, you fill out Standard Form 95 Claim for Damage, Injury, or Death.
The process that surrounds the document is particular and there are a few facts surrounding the form – and buried on it – worth noting.
- The claim must be submitted within two years of the incident.
- USPS has six months to respond to the claim.
- The form must include a sum total of the damages, which can be tricky.
The form requires a sum of your damages. If no sum is offered, the claim will not be considered. However, if your USPS accident just occurred and you’re injured, how do you know what your medical bills will add up to? How do you know how much work you’ll miss or what lost wages may amount to?
These are nuanced and complicated calculations. We can help determine a fair and accurate total for the harms and losses suffered, starting with a free case evaluation.
If USPS refuses your claim, you can then file suit under the FTCA. If you have not hired an attorney by that time, we absolutely recommend it. Any lawsuit you file would be filed in federal court, so you would need an attorney who is admitted to try cases before federal courts, which have slightly different rules than state courts.
Injuries Involving USPS Employees vs USPS Contractors
USPS employs nearly 500,000 employees represented by seven unions. There were also more than 136,000 non-career employees in 2019. The rules are different if you’re injured by a contractor versus an employee of USPS.
Furthermore, it can depend on who owns the vehicle – a private contracting firm or person, or USPS. In September 2020, the Postal Service used the FTCA to successfully dodge a lawsuit filed against it for injuries caused by a contractor in Puerto Rico.
Does Who Owns the Vehicle That Injured Me Matter?
It might. That’s one of the many variables that come into play when you’re seeking compensation from the government, and the rules can vary. Who owns the vehicle and who’s driving it all come into play. Sometimes, it’s easy to tell who owns the vehicle. Sometimes it isn’t.
We’ve all seen the trademark delivery vehicles of USPS plying neighborhood streets. They’re specially designed to deliver mail to the street-side boxes we all know. The driver sits on the right side, unlike most other vehicles in the US. But USPS operates many, many other vehicles including larger delivery vans and 18-wheelers to haul the mail. They’re not always so easily identified.
Moreover, many rural postal carriers use their own private vehicles to deliver mail. These vehicles may not be adequately marked, and many of these rural postal carriers have to drive on the wrong side of the road to make deliveries. Their vehicles are not designed or adapted for delivering mail — the driver’s side is on the left side, toward the middle of the road. (Some actually sit in the passenger’s seat and operate the vehicle from there.)
Regardless of what they’re driving, USPS drivers are like any other individual on the road. They can be negligent and cause injury to others if they are not careful.
How a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Mail Truck Personal Injury Claim
There are many complexities to dealing with an injury caused by someone working for USPS. It’s not impossible to seek compensation, but knowing what to do, how much to claim, and who to pursue for potential compensation is a task best done by an experienced USPS accident attorney.
There are questions you must know to ask and how to answer when determining the strength of your claim:
- Was the person who injured you an employee of USPS or a contractor?
- Were they in a vehicle owned by the Postal Service, or was it their own vehicle?
- What were they doing when the collision happened?
Building these kinds of cases can be very difficult. We recommend consulting a skilled attorney with experience dealing with mail truck accidents.
Is a James Scott Farrin Attorney Right for Me?
You may need experience and a track record of success in your corner1. Our firm’s 50+ attorneys have won awards, written books, and teach legal education seminars for other attorneys.
We know how the other side works. We have several former insurance adjusters, defense firm attorneys, and even a former state senator on staff.
Our formidable team of recognized professionals continues to power our success. In 2020 alone, we recovered $125 million for thousands of clients. Since 1997, we have recovered over $1.2 billion dollars in total compensation for more than 50,000 clients.1
So, is a James Scott Farrin attorney right for you?
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Remember: You don’t pay a cent in attorney’s fees unless we get you money, guaranteed.2