This article answers important questions about vehicle accident cases involving the United States Postal Service (USPS).
However, mail drivers get into accidents just the same as any other driver. They have to swerve around other vehicles, they can hit cars parked on the side of the road, and in general can be involved in the same kinds of wrecks as just about any other sort of motorist.
However, there is one thing that makes mail delivery drivers different from other motorists; they are in the employ of the federal government, and there are legal implications therein. If you were hurt in an accident with a commercial vehicle owned by a private entity, you would, in all likelihood, be seeking compensation from an insurance company. But if you are seeking restitution after being hurt in an accident with a U.S. mail truck, then you will basically be suing the federal government, because government vehicles are not insured.
And as complex as taking legal action against a private entity can be, filing a suit against the federal government goes even farther beyond the scope of the layperson. It is essential that you hire an experienced attorney before pursuing this sort of litigation - if you choose to do so on your own, you must be informed up front that you will have nearly no chance of prevailing.
At Grossman Law Offices we have represented clients in these kinds of cases for the past two and a half decades. We have the knowledge and skill you will need in order to have the best possible chance of obtaining fair compensation.
Can I Sue the U.S. Postal Service for Causing an Accident?
The vehicles used to transport mail are not limited to the ones you see around your neighborhood on a daily basis. Mail is also carried by 18-wheelers from major postal distribution centers to your local post office. Most of the time, when an accident involving a mail vehicle takes place, again, that vehicle is owned by the U.S. Government. If it is not owned by the government, it is still owned by a sub-contractor working for the government. As such, the government may bear some degree of liability.
Again, if you are seeking compensation for an injury suffered in an accident with a mail vehicle, you will basically be seeking it from the federal government. And taking action against the government is vastly different from doing so against a private citizen or entity. There are a number of hoops through which you have to jump, and there are several limitations that will be placed on your case. Just like a regular personal injury lawsuit, however, you will still have to prove the liability of the party responsible for your accident. And in order to provide the proof that you will need to be able to win, you will have to have the help of an experienced attorney.
What is the Federal Tort Claims Act?
In a nutshell, if you have a claim against the federal government, your only option is pursuing that claim through the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). It allows victims of an accident involving a mail truck or other federal government vehicle to sue the U.S. government when the driver of that vehicle commits negligence that leads to a personal injury or death.
The limitations associated with pursuing an FTCA claim are too numerous to mention here. Some of the most significant, however, include:
- An accident victim is only allowed to sue federal employees through the FTCA. If you were hurt in an accident caused by the driver of a sub-contracted vehicle, you will have to pursue a traditional lawsuit (more on this later).
- Your claim has to be based on the law of the state where the negligence took place, and permitted by that state's law.
- The negligence had to have been committed within the scope of the defendant's employment.
While there are many, many limitations to filing an FTCA claim, and again, several hoops through which you will need to jump, there are many accident victims every year who win cases against the federal government. So this could very well be a claim that is worth pursuing - again, as long as you have the help of an experienced attorney.
It is very important to note that you have to file this claim in federal court. Very few attorneys, and even fewer laypeople, have the knowledge and experience necessary to prevail in federal court. This is simply due to unfamiliarity with federal court procedures; federal courts work much differently from state courts.