Accidents and the United States Postal Service: Facts and FAQs
When accidents occur, people don’t often think of the offender being a mail truck for the United States Postal Service. But it happens more often than you think! Dealing with an accident that involves the USPS is also more complicated than you might imagine. The legal process is totally different from a typical accident or injury claim and it’s important to understand that difference if you want to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Below are important facts and information about accidents involving the United States Postal Service and what you should do if you’re involved in one.
The USPS reports that there are over 75,000 mail carriers that drive all around the United States to deliver mail. According to their Postal Facts, the United States Postal Office processes and delivers over 470 million pieces of mail a day.
According to the United States General Services Administration’s 2018 federal fleet report, the United States owns approximately 447,851 vehicles and leases an additional 4,000 vehicles. Unsurprisingly, the United States Postal Office makes up over half of the federally owned vehicles with an astounding 228,326 vehicles owned. The sheer amount of vehicles on the road means that there is always a chance that if you are struck by a vehicle, it could be a postal service truck.
In December 2019, the United States Postal Service released a cover story for Motor Vehicle Safety Month. In 2019, there were approximately 29,000 motor vehicle accidents involving a United States Postal Service truck. Of the 29,000, over 13,000 occurred when the USPS vehicle was traveling straight ahead on the road.
Why do there seem to be so many accidents with USPS trucks?
The USPS cover story for Motor Vehicle Safety Month indicates that distracted driving plays a large role in these types of accidents. There may also be another underlying issue: the age of its vehicles.
Obviously, an older vehicle does not automatically mean it is unsafe, but it can create increased risks. Common equipment failures that are often associated with older vehicles include defects in the engine, brake failures, dim or broken headlights or tail lights, and poorly functioning windshield wipers that make it hard to see in rain or snow.
Replacing the USPS’s fleet will not be cheap or quick, especially with the discussion on the USPS’s status and funding that is unfolding on the political stage. It is quite possible that the USPS will have old vehicles on the road that may suffer from failures which could contribute to accidents.
Who insures postal vehicles?
It’s important to understand that unlike private individuals, the United States Postal Service is self-insured. They do not carry insurance on their vehicles because they are exempt from state vehicle insurance statutes. Additionally, unlike with private insurance companies, the money you can possibly recover is not limited to the applicable auto insurance policy that was in effect at the time of the accident.
Do I need a lawyer if I’m in an accident with a USPS truck?
Yes! We highly recommend having a lawyer if you have been injured by a postal vehicle. Even if you have successfully dealt with private insurance companies before, dealing directly with the United States Postal Service requires strict compliance with its protocols before there is a resolution.
The process is complicated and involves a different set of rules. Failure to adhere to this specific process could result in your claim being permanently barred which means that you would not receive the financial compensation you are entitled to. Additionally, a person who chooses to represent themselves and files their own complaint should remember that a judge will hold them to the same standard that they would as an attorney. They will not be offered any breaks for important or dispositive deadlines.
While the Federal Tort Claims Act extends to all federal employees, the most common example are those that involve the United States Postal Service and its mail trucks for the simple reason that they are on our roads just about every single day. Postal workers spend large parts of their work day driving all around the communities they are assigned to.
The process of starting, negotiating, and finalizing a claim with the United States Postal Service is a difficult, complicated, and confusing procedure. An error or mistake may result in you receiving nothing for your injuries. In order to ensure that deadlines and requirements are met and satisfied, contact one of the attorneys at the Kryder Law Group to further discuss the details of your personal injury case.
What happens if a mail truck hits me?
The personal injury process can be a stressful one. The adjuster will use aggressive tactics to try to minimize your case’s value. The Kryder Law Group is a leading Illinois law firm focusing on personal injury cases that involve employees of the federal government, as well as other matters that may require litigation in the federal courts system. The Kryder Law Group’s attorneys will deal directly with the adjuster or defense firm so that you have the peace of mind that your attorneys are working to maximize the compensation you deserve.
The firm has already helped thousands of Illinois clients recover the benefits they deserve. Call us at 312-223-1700 or e-mail us at email@example.com to set up a free and confidential consultation.