Filing a Claim Against the USPS

While we expect government agencies to act in accordance with the law, government vehicles are just as likely to be involved in a collision as any other vehicle. This also applies to the United States Postal Service (USPS), as well as any contractors who handle orders for the government. When a USPS driver causes a crash, the claims process is entirely different than when a privately-owned vehicle is involved.

If you were seriously injured due to a government delivery vehicle, your best course of action is to have an experienced lawyer handle your case. After a collision, do not hesitate to contact the New York government delivery accident attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP. With over 50 years of experience, our attorneys can provide reliable and thorough legal advice about how to pursue a tort claim against the driver. Call us at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your case in a free consultation.

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Dangers of a Delivery Accident

The USPS has both large commercial size trucks and smaller delivery vans on the roadways, akin to the vehicles managed by Amazon, UPS, and FedEx. Just as they utilize the same vehicles, they are also prone to the same types of accidents, including:

  • Sideswiping another vehicle while improperly changing lanes
  • Rear-ending another vehicle after following too closely
  • Making inappropriate stops on busy roadways
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way while merging
  • Backing into an oncoming car
  • Running another vehicle off the road
  • Rollover accidents caused by tire blowouts

These accidents are often the result of a driver rushing or acting recklessly while trying to complete an order. The USPS is not as well funded as other agencies, which has led to fewer drivers, heavily loaded vehicles, and tighter deadlines. All of this can add to serious delivery driver accidents, often due to:

  • Poorly maintained or overused USPS vehicles
  • Driver fatigue
  • Improperly loaded cargo
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating

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Proving Negligence Against a Government Agency

You will need complete and proper documentation to prevail in a USPS delivery truck accident case. Tort claims are difficult to file on your own, as you have a tighter deadline to pursue a lawsuit and must abide by strict guidelines. In addition to these rules and regulations, you will have to demonstrate how the driver acted negligently, which can be done with:

  • A police report filed by the investigating officer
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Medical records and invoices
  • Mechanic or auto shop bills
  • Cell phone records
  • Driving records
  • Photos and/or videos of the accident scene

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Steps to a Tort Claim

In most auto accident cases, the injured party files a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, when a USPS delivery driver is at fault, your claim must be filed against the federal government, which acts as a self-insurer in tort claims.

Legal actions against the federal government fall under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Like other car accidents, victims of vehicle collisions with government workers can pursue a claim for damages if the victim suffered bodily injury or property damage through the negligent or wrongful act of a federal employee acting in the scope of his official duties.

To effectively pursue damages under the FTCA, you will need to:

  1. Collect evidence of negligence.
  2. File an administrative claim with the agency involved, in this case, the United States Postal Service or related agency who oversaw the delivery.
  3. Wait for the USPS to review and respond to your claim, which can take up to six months from the filing date. The agency may approve your claim and agree to pay for all or part of your damages, or reject your claim entirely.
  4. After receiving a ruling from the USPS, you have six months to file a lawsuit in federal court if the agency rejected your claim or refused to pay all of your damages. If the USPS fails to rule on your claim within the six months allowed, you have the option to proceed with filing in federal court or to wait for a ruling from the USPS.
  5. If your case goes to trial, then your attorney must demonstrate the USPS driver acted negligently before a jury.

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Thorough Representation After an Accident

Delivery accidents are complex cases, and even more so when your claim is against the federal government. If you have been seriously injured in a government delivery accident, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353. Our New York car accident attorneys have more than 40 years of experience advocating for clients in the claims process, both against private and public companies, and can provide sound legal advice.

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