Getting into an Accident with a USPS Mail Truck

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If you were involved in a minor fender bender with a USPS truck, you can easily handle the property damage claims process yourself by filing the US government Form 95 Claim for Damage, Injury, or Death.

Contact a Lawyer If You’re Injured in an Accident with a Mail Truck

If you’ve been seriously injured after getting hit by a USPS vehicle, it’s crucial to have experienced legal representation from a car accident lawyer: settlement negotiations or pursuing a lawsuit against the USPS under the Federal Tort Claims Act can be very complex. With The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers, you’re not alone.

Our team is adept at handling these unique personal injury cases, providing skillful representation from an experienced personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable about federal court procedures and dedicated to securing the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

What Happens if You Are Hit By a Mail Truck?

Have You Been Hit by a USPS Mail Truck?

In Illinois, the laws governing your path to recovery in ordinary vehicle accidents are based on state law and its interpretation by Illinois courts. However, when a vehicle accident involves a USPS employee in one of their trucks, federal law comes into play. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) guides the procedural aspects of the case. It’s important to note that filing a claim or lawsuit in federal court against the federal government under this Act has different requirements compared to cases involving state law.

USPS Vehicle Insurance

USPS vehicles are insured by the federal government, and the United States Postal Service is a self-insured entity. They are exempt from state vehicle insurance statutes. This means if you’re involved in an accident with a USPS driver in a mail truck, you’ll be dealing directly with the federal government agency, not a traditional insurance company. And if you’re making a personal injury claim for your car accident, you are dealing with a government employee, government entity, and possibly, the federal courts.

What Happens if a Letter Carrier Using their Personal Vehicle Is Involved in an Accident?

The U.S. Postal Service has almost 80,000 rural delivery routes serviced by some 133,000 rural letter carriers. For some of those routes, USPS provides the vehicle, but for others, the carrier uses a private vehicle.

If a letter carrier using their personal vehicle is involved in an accident while performing USPS duties, the legal process can be particularly complex. The USPS may still bear some liability, depending on the specific circumstances. Determining fault and the applicable auto insurance policy may require extensive investigation.

How to File a Claim with USPS for an Auto Accident

Since the USPS is a federal government agency, there are several differences when it comes to filing a claim for injuries. There is a strict two year deadline to file your personal injury claim against the USPS, so it is essential that you act quickly to gather the police report, witness statements, medical bills, and other accident information to avoid waiving your rights.

To file your claim against the USPS, you must complete a Government Form 95 Claim for Damage, Injury, or Death. You will need the following information to complete this form:

Basis of Claim

State the factual basis for your claim including the circumstances of the accident. This section should identify the USPS driver’s negligence. Remember, any damaging admissions you make will be used against you, so speak with an attorney before submitting an injury claim.

Property Damage Details

Include detailed information about the property damage that was caused by the collision. This can include the damage to your vehicle and any other property that was damaged in the accident.

Injury Details

Describe all physical injuries you have sustained as a result of the wreck. Include information about medical expenses incurred due to these injuries and any other financial losses you may have sustained like time off work and future medical costs for rehabilitation.

Witness Contact Information

Provide contact information for any witnesses who saw what happened before, during, and after the accident.

Insurance Information

Additionally, you will need to provide information about your own auto insurance policy coverage, including any recent claims you may have made.

Demand for Damages

When filing Form 95, it is necessary to include a settlement demand for damages along with your claim. If you have suffered severe injuries, seek legal advice to ensure that your demand for damages is adequate to cover the full extent of your injuries including compensation for lost wages and future medical expenses.

Where to Submit Your Claim

Once Form 95 has been completed, according to USPS regulations, personal injury claims can be filed and must be accepted at any local post office or postal facility.

USPS Processing Time

Upon receipt of your injury claim by the USPS, they have a period of six months to provide a response to your demand. If your claim is accepted, the USPS will pay you with the full amount of damages requested. However, in the event that your claim is rejected, you will then have an additional six months to initiate legal proceedings against the agency.

How to Report an Unsafe USPS Driver

If you witnessed unsafe driving by a post office vehicle driver, you can submit a report to the USPS’s toll free hotline at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) Monday through Friday 7:00am–7:30pm CT or Saturday 7:00am–5:00pm CT. Alternatively, you can also file a report at the USPS website.

Try to obtain the vehicle’s identification number and be sure to mention the date, time, and location of the incident to improve the chances of corrective action being taken.

Do USPS Trucks Have Cameras?

The USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDVs) are equipped with an array of advanced features. These include 360-degree cameras, state-of-the-art braking and traction control systems, airbags, and a front-and-rear collision avoidance system. This comprehensive system provides visual and audio warnings, along with automatic braking capabilities. Excitingly, the NGDVs may even start appearing on carrier routes by the end of 2023.

Misconceptions About United States Postal Service Vehicles

Common Misconceptions About USPS Vehicles

There are a variety of frequently asked misconceptions about USPS mail trucks.

Is It a Felony to Hit a Mail Truck?

One popular urban legend suggests that it is a felony just to hit a USPS mail truck. However, it is not a felony to hit a post office vehicle. The USPS can be held liable for any injuries or property damage it negligently causes in a vehicle accident just like a private commercial shipping company.

This misconception may have stemmed from cases that involve a collision with a mail truck exacerbated by additional traffic violations. For example, if a driver hits a USPS vehicle and fails to stop, they could be charged with a hit and run that is a Class 2 or Class 4 felony under Illinois Traffic Code.

Are Postal Vehicles Exempt from Traffic Laws?

No, postal vehicles are not exempt from traffic laws. US Postal Service workers must adhere to all state traffic laws when driving USPS vehicles. The USPS driver handbook states that “drivers must obey all federal, state, and local traffic laws and Postal Service policies, drive defensively and professionally, and extend courtesy in all situations.”

Do Mail Trucks Always Have the Right of Way?

Another common urban legend suggests that when a police car with its sirens on, an ambulance with its sirens on, and a USPS mail truck all reach an intersection at the same time, the post office vehicle has the right of way. But this is incorrect, postal vehicles must yield the right of way to emergency vehicles the same as other types of vehicles on the road. The Illinois Vehicle Code right-of-way rules do not have any exceptions for mail trucks.

Getting into an Accident with a USPS Mail Truck
Getting into an Accident with a USPS Mail Truck

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