Dealing with a USPS Truck Accident Crash in Michigan

The United States Postal Service (USPS) provides delivery services, uses approximately 230,000 vehicles and manages 19.7 million mail pieces every hour.

USPS is a federal government agency. The volume of mail being processed by their system, as well as the congested streets, can make them prone to accidents.

Legal action and compensation differ when you get involved in an accident with a federal agency. You might need the help of a USPS truck accident lawyer to guide you through the process.

Common Causes of USPS Truck Accidents

The pressure that USPS drivers feel to complete deliveries on time can cause fatigue, distraction, and intoxication. This may result in driver’s negligence, which plays a big role in crashes.

The most common causes of USPS truck accidents are:

  • Irregular stops and slow speed: USPS drivers typically drive slowly and stop infrequently to deliver mail. Their unpredictable driving patterns can confuse nearby motorists.
  • Improperly secured or loaded cargo: Drivers and loaders should ensure that packages, letters, and the truck’s doors are properly secured. Otherwise, loose cargo will slip out of the truck and cause accidents on the road.
  • Driving on the wrong side: Wrong-side driving happens more frequently in rural areas than in cities. Those driving on the wrong side of the road can’t predict when another vehicle will appear. On the other hand, driving from the passenger seat compromises control and reaction time, both of which are essential for safety.

What Is the Federal Tort Claims Act?

Generally, private citizens can’t file lawsuits against the federal government because it’s protected by sovereign immunity. You can only do so if you’re given permission or consent, making it hard for anyone to sue the government.

Things changed when the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was enacted in 1946. It waived the government’s sovereign immunity to lawsuits in some cases.

It also specified the requirements to file a negligence claim against a federal agency. You can file a claim if:

  • You got injured or sustained property damage because of a government employee’s negligence. To be liable, they should be working at the time of the accident.
  • You can prove that the employee’s negligence directly caused the injury or damages. For instance, you got injured by a USPS truck while on its delivery route.

There are some exceptions to this law. The claim isn’t valid if:

  • The person committing the wrongful act is only an independent contractor hired by the government.
  • The person wasn’t acting within the scope of their employment duties (e.g., the driver was on a lunch break).

What is the Average Settlement Value of a USPS Accident Case?

USPS accident cases vary, so estimating the maximum compensation is quite tricky. The verdicts for mail truck accidents range from a few thousand to millions in fines.

Personal injury claims with the USPS can increase or decrease depending on several factors:

  • The severity of the injury
  • Distribution of fault
  • Lost Wages or loss of earning potential
  • Property damage-related expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

Liabilities of USPS Employees vs USPS Contractors

USPS hires both independent contractors and direct employees. The rules vary when a contractor is at fault in a truck accident compared to USPS employees.

The FTCA doesn’t allow filing claims against USPS drivers who were hired as independent contractors. However, compensation for injuries involving USPS employees may still be granted in the following exemptions:

  • If you can show that the contractor was treated as a federal government employee; or
  • If you can show that it possessed the authority to manage the contractor’s performance. It must also be proven that the government had substantial supervision over the contractor’s activities.

What Do You Need to Prove That the USPS Driver was At Fault?

Although USPS drivers are generally protected by sovereign immunity, a personal injury claim can still be filed if there is evidence of negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney can help gather supporting documents to establish the following four elements of negligence:

  • The USPS truck driver owed you a duty of care;
  • The duty of care was breached;
  • You suffered from severe injuries because of the breach, and;
  • You incurred damages.

What to Do in a Crash with a USPS Vehicle

Following these steps at the time of the USPS accident could boost your chances of successfully filing a personal injury claim:

  • Seek medical attention right away. Aside from preventing your injuries from worsening, you’ll also know the extent of your injuries. The medical records will help identify the damages you can claim.
  • Get a police report. Document all the details of the truck accident. You must provide a comprehensive summary of all the facts of the accident when filing a claim.
  • Account for all the damages you think you are owed. Ideally, you must give a specific amount when you file a claim.
  • Hire an experienced personal injury attorney. You’ll receive guidance on the complicated process of filing a claim, such as accomplishing the Standard Form 95.

Steps in Filing a Claim with the USPS

An exceptional attorney may be able to guide you in filing a personal injury lawsuit against the government. They will ensure to follow every step required in the personal injury claim process.

  • Identify injuries as confirmed by the physician.
  • Specify additional losses such as lost wages and vehicle damage.
  • Provide the factual basis for the personal injury claim.
  • Complete Standard Form 95.
  • Identify witnesses.
  • Provide information on automobile insurance policy.
  • Demand for damages.
  • Check the completed Government Form 95 and add any supporting documentation.
  • Submit a claim to the US Postal Service.

How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Time is of the essence if you plan to recover compensation for injuries from USPS accidents or involving USPS employees. You should file your federal tort claims within:

  • Two years from the date you sustained injuries.
  • Six months after getting denied if a claim filed against the federal agency.

A USPS truck accident lawyer can help you complete the process within the stipulated timeline. He will also check that all information provided satisfies the FTCA claim’s four points.

Contact a USPS Accident Attorney Today

Filing a claim against the United States Postal Service could mean bringing a lawsuit in a federal court. There’s no need to worry as long as you have an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side. You don’t deserve to suffer financially for an accident you didn’t cause.

The Clark Law Office offers free case evaluation to truck accident victims and their loved ones. Schedule a free consultation with a USPS accident attorney today!

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