If you suffered injuries in an auto accident with a United States Postal Service (USPS) vehicle, you have a right to recover damages for your losses. However, understanding how to file a car accident claim with USPS is more complex because they are a federal government entity. You can’t simply file a lawsuit against a USPS worker as you would against any other negligent driver. Read on to learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit after a mail truck accident. You need an experienced personal injury attorney that understands the unique requirements for bringing claims against a federal employee like one working for the USPS.
Filing a Claim Against the Government is Complex
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Common Causes of a Mail Truck Accident with USPS
A collision with a USPS vehicle can result in various damages, including property damage and bodily injury. Severe crashes may cause spinal damage, traumatic brain injuries, and even paralysis. These injuries lead to medical expenses and lost earnings. In some situations, injured victims may suffer emotional wounds that make returning to everyday life impossible. Understanding common causes of mail truck accidents may help you spot these potential risks before they turn into an accident.
Slow Speeds and Irregular Stops
USPS drivers often make frequent stops and drive at slow speeds to carry out their job duties. Unfortunately, this pattern of behavior while driving increases the likelihood of an accident with a motorist.
If a mail carrier fails to secure its cargo adequately, it can cause letters and packages to fall out of the truck. Drivers may collide with a truck when swerving to avoid the spilled cargo.
Mail carriers often drive on the wrong side of the road to quickly deliver packages to residents. Unfortunately, unassuming motorists may collide with a truck when encountered unexpectedly.
In efforts to organize their mail before reaching each residence, mail workers may be actively sorting mail as they slowly drive through neighborhoods. Unfortunately, this may lead to collisions as people back out of their driveways or unexpectedly cross paths with a distracted mail carrier.
How Do I File a Car Accident Claim with USPS?
There is a process to complete when making a claim against USPS, and the assistance of a personal injury attorney may be helpful. Filing a lawsuit against federal government workers is more challenging than filing a suit against a private citizen. Most government workers are granted government immunity, meaning that in most lawsuits, the federal government must first grant permission to allow a lawsuit to continue. But the Federal Tort Claims Act permits injured parties to bring suit against government employees in certain situations and waives government immunity.
What is the Federal Tort Claims Act?
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) is a complex law permitting specific lawsuits against federal government entities that caused injuries or property damage to others while acting within the scope of their employment. The FTCA details the steps an injured victim must take when filing a negligence claim against a government agency like the USPS.
Claims brought under the FTCA cannot be filed in the same way that someone would file a personal injury lawsuit. Instead, injured victims must file an administrative claim with USPS before filing their lawsuit. If a claimant fails to follow this strict administrative procedure, they may lose their opportunity to pursue damages in federal court.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law determining the maximum time that parties have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the injury. Under the FTCA, personal injury claims are subject to two different limitation periods. A claim is barred without the following conditions:
- The claim is filed within two years from the date of the incident or
- The action starts within six months after the date of mailing or notice of final denial of the claim by the agency.
Two separate claims—the administrative and lawsuit claim—must be initiated correctly to proceed under the FTCA. It’s vital to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney knowledgeable of the FTCA to ensure your claim is not dismissed on a procedural issue.
The FTCA caps attorney fees at 25% of the judgment rendered for litigated matters and 20% of the settlement amount for claims resolved during the administrative process.
What Can I Recover After Making a Claim Against USPS?
Just as in personal injury lawsuits, if you suffered injuries and property damage in a mail truck accident, you have the right to recover compensatory damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent direct financial losses resulting from your accident. These damages include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Tangible evidence, including receipts, invoices, pay stubs, and bills, support your demand for economic damages.
Non-economic damages represent the psychological and emotional losses caused by the accident. These damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Permanent disability,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
An injured victim should never overlook the importance of recovering these damages. However, without the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney, these damages are difficult to obtain and quantify due to their subjective nature.
When facing the most difficult circumstances, you need a dedicated trial lawyer to represent and protect your best interests. At Gerash, Steiner & Blanton, P.C., we fight for your protection, rights, and freedom. We keep our caseload small to ensure you receive the personal attention you deserve. Our team has decades of legal experience and is prepared to represent clients at municipal, state, and federal court levels. In addition to being a lawyer, one of our partners is an experienced physician, giving our team unique insight into the medical aspects of your case.
We are ready to provide you with a wealth of resources needed to overcome the unique challenges associated with your courtroom case. Contact us today.