We rely on the timely and reliable delivery services provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS). While this is an invaluable service that virtually every person in Kentucky has access to, we must remember that the mail trucks we rely on are driven by human beings—and human beings make mistakes.
So what happens if a mail truck gets into an accident? Unlike typical motor vehicle accidents, matters of liability are much more complex when a government entity or employee is involved.
- The United States Postal Service (USPS) is liable for accidents involving their mail delivery trucks.
- Administrative claims are a necessary prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against USPS.
- Filing a lawsuit in federal court may require the guidance of an attorney with specialized expertise.
Who Is Responsible if You’re Hit and Injured by a USPS Mail Truck?
The white USPS mail trucks that we are all familiar with are usually owned directly by the federal government, or by a sub-contractor in the employment of the government. This makes the government liable for any accident or injuries resulting from a mail truck accident involving negligence.
However, liability involving USPS mail truck accidents is exceptionally complex. Due to limitations on suing the federal government, the process for recovering compensation for related medical expenses, lost wages, and more has many hurdles. For example, you cannot directly sue the government for a mail truck accident unless you have first completed a six-month-long administrative claims process that did not result in a settlement.
The Impact of the Federal Tort Claims Act on Mail Truck Accidents
The federal government is generally shielded from being sued by private citizens because of the immunities provided by its sovereign immunity. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) provides an important exception to this immunity.
Enacted in 1946, the FTCA provides a legal path for citizens to receive compensation for a “personal injury, death, or property loss or damage caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the federal government.”
The Administrative Claims Process
The FTCA requires victims injured by a mail carrier or USPS negligence to first complete an administrative process prior to gaining the right to file a lawsuit against the government. The administrative process is started by filing a claim with USPS using Form 95. This claim must:
- Be filed within two years of the accident,
- Include specific details about the collision and resulting damages, and
- Provide a clear accounting of the compensation you are asking for.
USPS has up to six months to respond to the claim. There are two possible outcomes:
- USPS will admit liability and pay for your damages.
- USPS will deny liability and reject the claim.
If USPS admits liability and pays for your claim, there will be no need to continue with legal action. But if your claim is denied, you will receive a letter to sue. This gives you the right to sue the federal government as a private citizen.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the United States Postal Service
If your claim is not settled via the administrative claims process and you are granted a letter to sue, your next step will be to file a lawsuit in federal court. A federal attorney will be assigned to represent USPS in your case, so it is important for you to also retain legal representation.
Your case may be either settled out of court or taken to trial. In most (although not all) cases, federal judges often order parties to first try mediation. This is because the process of taking a case through the federal trial process can be time and cost-intensive.
Before this happens, though, you should expect to go through a process called discovery. Discovery is a process by which both sides begin preparing for a trial, and includes the formal exchange of information between both plaintiff and defendant. This includes information about certain evidence and witnesses that will appear at the trial.
How To Prove a Mail Truck Driver Acted Negligently
Whether you’re in the administrative claims process or filing a lawsuit in federal court, you will need strong evidence to prove that the mail carrier who hit you acted negligently. Types of evidence that can support this type of motor vehicle accident claim include:
- Employment and driving history of the mail carrier
- Data collected by the mail truck’s event data recorder (EDR)
- Dash cam footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Pictures and videos taken of the accident scene
- Medical records and bills
- Documented requests for time off work
You deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for all that you’ve lost, been through, and endured as a result of a mail carrier’s negligence. This means that you must be prepared to collect evidence and craft a compelling claim that proves the at-fault party’s actions met the definition of negligence. There are normally four criteria you must meet:
- The at-fault party (the mail carrier) owed you a duty of care.
- The at-fault party failed to uphold that duty of care by acting negligently or recklessly behind the wheel, causing your accident.
- You were injured in the accident.
- You suffered verifiable losses as a result of the accident and your injuries.
Proving that your accident met the legal standard for negligence requires a thorough and careful analysis of all available evidence.
Golden Law Office Fights for Injury Victims in Lexington and Beyond
Federal courts have a much narrower range of jurisdiction than state courts, requiring specialized knowledge of court procedures and the law. Whether you are just starting your administrative claims process or have received your letter to sue and are ready to file a lawsuit, your case needs the support of an experienced attorney.
At Golden Law Office, we are prepared to guide Kentucky injury victims through even the most complex legal claims. As a client, you’ll never have unanswered questions or be left to wonder what happens if a mail truck gets into an accident.
To learn more about your legal options during a completely free, no-obligation informational meeting, please contact us online or by phone. We’ll schedule you for your no-cost case evaluation at a time and date that works best for you.
Golden Law is a local, Kentucky Law Firm, attorneys/lawyers in Fayette County, Kentucky, working in the fields of personal injury, auto accidents, car and truck wrecks; medical malpractice: doctors, hospitals & nursing homes; senior living abuse: neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, dehydration, bedsores, catastrophic injuries, and broken bones. If you are considering a lawsuit, call us at 859.469.5000 for a free consultation. We are located at 771 Corporate Dr. Suite 800/ Lexington, Kentucky 40503. We handle cases all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have represented and trained people in major insurance companies & major trucking companies. We have first hand experience and know the ‘inside of the insurance business’ … that’s a distinction that no other law firm can make. We’re Your Advocate. Dale Golden, Laraclay Parker.