Morrin Law Office
Kentucky Car Accidents Involving USPS
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, car accidents are unfortunately common occurrences. What happens, then, if the at-fault party happens to be driving a USPS vehicle? Suddenly, what would have been a straightforward personal injury claim takes on a new level of complexity, given that the negligent driver is a representative of the United States government.
Picture this: a Kentucky driver patiently waiting at a red light, only to be rear-ended by a USPS truck. In the aftermath, confusion ensues, as the victim (you!) grapple with the unique challenges that come with seeking compensation from a federal agency. Enter the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), a legal framework that provides a pathway for individuals to file claims against the government for personal injuries caused by its employees.
This page will delve into the intricacies of car accidents involving USPS vehicles in Kentucky. From the convoluted process of filing administrative claims to the complexities of federal litigation, there are multiple challenges victims may face. However, hiring an attorney well-versed in FTCA can benefit you and your personal injury claim.
Contact Morrin Law Office
The attorneys at the Morrin Law Office are dedicated to getting our clients’ lives back together after an unexpected accident. Far too often victims of motor vehicle collisions suffer due to their injuries. This suffering continues as they struggle to make ends meet with the loss of work or extended recovery time. Our goal is to provide legal guidance to our clients and win them the compensation their injuries deserve. To receive a risk-free evaluation, contact our office at (859) 358-0300.
Who is Responsible for Injuries Caused by a Mail Truck?
Just like any passenger-vehicle collision, there are multiple factors that could contribute to a USPS driver causing an accident. Some causes unique to a mail truck driver may include:
- Driver distraction;
- Weather conditions;
- Vehicle maintenance issues;
- Inadequate training;
- Failure to obey traffic laws; or
- Cargo handling issues.
Car accidents involving USPS or other mail trucks are often more complex than cases involving only passenger vehicles. This is because mail trucks are often owned by the federal government, or a private contractor of the government. That means when their drivers cause a collision, the government can be held liable for any resulting injuries and damages.
However, there are specific rules and regulations when it comes to suing the federal government. This can make it much more difficult to obtain the compensation you deserve for the medical expenses and lost wages that result from the accident. Your best option for a successful claim or lawsuit against USPS is by hiring an experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney.
How to Establish Liability
So, you’ve been injured in an accident with a mail truck driver. Now what? If the accident was caused by the USPS driver’s negligence or recklessness, you will need to provide sufficient proof to establish liability. Evidence that may be helpful in supporting this type of motor vehicle claim includes the following:
- Dash cam footage of the collision;
- Images and videos of the accident scene;
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Employment and driving history from USPS driver;
- Data collection from driver’s event data recorder (EDR);
- Resulting medical records and bills; and
- Any documentation of missed work due to the injury.
The evidence you provide should indicate that the following criteria was met:
- The USPS driver owed you a duty of care;
- The USPS driver failed to uphold this duty of care by acting in a negligent or reckless manner;
- The negligent or reckless actions by the USPS driver caused a collision resulting in your injury; and
- The injury caused by the USPS collision caused you excessive loss and damages.
A Kentucky lawyer experienced in personal injury claims against USPS and other government-employed agencies can assist you with your case.
The Federal Tort Claims Act
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) is a legislation enacted in the United States to allow individuals or private parties to sue for compensation when they have suffered property damage, personal injury, or wrongful death caused by the negligence or wrongful acts of a person or party employed by the federal government.
A tort is defined as a civil wrongdoing that caused harm to another person or their property. Typically, a federal entity is protected under the government’s sovereign immunity. However, the FTCA provides a waiver of this immunity for injured persons to seek compensation for any damages or injuries caused by the wrongful or negligent acts of federal employees.
Under the FTCA, if a federal employee commits an act within the scope of their federal employment that causes damage or injury to another person, the injured person or party can file a claim against them. The law is designed to provide a financial remedy to those who suffered harm caused by the actions of a federal government employee. However, it is important to establish that there are both exceptions and limitations to the FTCA.
A person who has been injured in an accident caused by a federal employee should consult with an attorney experienced in FTCA claims.
Administrative Claims Process
After a person has been injured due to a USPS driver or other FTCA employee, they must first complete the administrative claims process.
The USPS claims process begins with the injured person completing and filing a Form 95 claim. According to the Department of Justice, the Standard Form 95 is used to present claims against the government under the FTCA for any property damage, personal injury, or death.
It is extremely important that you fill out this form correctly, as the responses you provide will be carefully reviewed. When filling out the Standard Form 95, you must:
- File within the two years of the accident;
- Provide details and supporting documentation from the collision and the resulting sum of damages; and
- Include the compensation you wish to receive from the claim.
Once the form has been filed, USPS will have six months to respond to the claim. The two possible outcomes are that USPS will accept liability for the collision and pay for the damages, or USPS will deny liability and reject the claim.
If USPS accepts the claim, they will provide you with a settlement offer that includes the amount of compensation that will be awarded to settle your claim.
If USPS denies the claim and refuses to accept liability for the accident, you then have the right to sue them under FTCA.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the United States Postal Service
If your personal injury case was not settled through the administrative process, then you can proceed with filing a lawsuit against USPS. Just as USPS had six months to respond, you will have six months to file a lawsuit from the time they provide their answer.
These types of cases take place in federal court, which operate differently from a standard courtroom. The opposing party (USPS) will be assigned a federal attorney to defend themselves, so you should also consider hiring an attorney experienced in FTCA lawsuits.
The litigation process will involve legal proceedings such as the discovery of evidence, motions for settlement, and the possibility of a trial. If your lawsuit against USPS goes to trial, a judge or jury will determine the outcome. The outcome will be based on the facts and details from the collision. To have a successful case, your attorney should be able to prove that the driver’s wrongdoing on the job caused the accident and the injuries you sustained. If your case wins, the court will issue a judgement that specifies the damages awarded.
There are both economic and non-economic damages you may try to receive through litigation against USPS. The financial losses resulting from your accident can include:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earnings;
- Property damage;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Permanent disability;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Loss of consortium.
Important: USPS differs from private individuals in the litigation process. This is because the company is self-insured and is exempt from the typical insurance laws in Kentucky. That means you are not limited in the compensation you may be able to receive that is usually tied to the auto insurance policy that was applicable at the time of the wreck.
If you have questions regarding the litigation process in Kentucky, contact Morrin Law Firm.
What to Do After a USPS Accident
As the dust settles on the unexpected accident scene, you realize that a USPS mail truck has hit you. Follow these steps to ensure your safety and a smooth personal claim process:
- Call the Police: Law enforcement should always be called following a motor vehicle collision, as they can help determine what caused the wreck. Even if you do not immediately notice any injuries, you should be checked out by a medical professional. Obtaining documentation of the police report and any injuries found by a doctor are both imperative for your case.
- Document the accident scene: If it is safe to do so, document the scene of the accident. This can include an image or video of each motor vehicle involved, damages, injuries, and the surrounding area. This is also the time to receive the contact information for any eyewitnesses who may have witnessed what caused the accident.
- Notify insurance companies: You will have to notify your insurance company about the accident. We recommend that you do this as soon as possible. During this time, you should provide the insurance company with as much detail as possible regarding the accident. You should not, however, give any statements or information to USPS or their insurance until you have first spoken with an attorney. Any information given may be used against you later during the claims process or litigation.
- Hire an attorney experienced in tort claims: If you have not already, this is the time you should contact Morrin Law Firm. Our attorneys can review your case details in a free case evaluation and determine the best way to proceed.
Example Kentucky Cases
The following provides two examples of car accidents involving USPS drivers in Kentucky:
- June 2015 – Police in Lexington responded to a collision involving a USPS truck at Andover Village Drive on June 25th, 2015. The local report indicated that an SUV was on the wrong side of the road when the crash occurred. The driver of the USPS truck was thrown into the front windshield, and both drivers were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
- July 2023 – Mayfield Police responded to a two-vehicle crash that took place on July 3rd, 2023. According to the local report, USPS employee Shaun Vonschoech was turning left onto a bypass when he failed to fully straighten out the truck. Vonschoech’s truck continued into oncoming traffic from southbound, which resulted in a McCartney food delivery truck rear-ending the USPS truck. The force of the collision caused the USPS truck to go down an embarkment and flip. Vonschoech suffered injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital.
Hire an Experienced Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney
While each personal injury case can have its own hurdles and complications, an accident involving a government employee—such as USPS—can create a complex process for receiving compensation. Even if you were certain that the collision was caused by the mail truck driver’s negligent actions, there is still a chance that your claim will be denied after the six-month period.
The good news is that when you hire an experienced Kentucky attorney, you can rest assured knowing that your success story is what drives us forward. We will do everything in our power to fight for you. This can include speaking to insurance companies on your behalf, using our resources to reconstruct collisions to prove fault, and representing you during trial if necessary. It is important that you understand your rights and legal options in the event of a USPS accident. Morrin Law Firm is on your side and ready to help. Contact our office today at (859) 358-0300 to receive a free case evaluation.