Post Office Mail Delivery Accident Lawyers in L.A.
Are We U.S Post Office Delivery Vehicle Accident Attorneys?
Yes, we handle U.S. Postal trucks, big rig, and Jeep accidents. So that means we assist people in dealing with the U.S. Postmaster General for motor vehicle accident lawsuit claims. To begin with, postal workers are notorious for having a sense of entitlement and driving sporadically around residential neighborhoods with reckless abandon. (Source).
- Examples of a Postal Workers Gone "Postal."
"This is the 3rd time my mail Carrier has peeled out of my yard and ripped up my sod. I went to my local mail office I was told by the manager there is nothing they can do for me. This time the mail Carrier peeled out with speed ripping up my yard and did a u-turn to leave mud and dirt and grass in the street. Someone should be held accountable for this this is becoming ridiculous." "On January 12, 2018, I was heading home when this USPS truck decided to shift to my lane and hit me right on the quarter panel. The damage was really bad and their supervisor acknowledged that they were at fault! I’m waiting for a response from them, but nothing I tried contacting them and still nothing. I had to go fix my wheel damage myself and knowing I hardly worked during the holidays I’m so low on funds. Usps needs to be more responsible! I need my car fixed ASAP!"
A demonstrated above by an actual citizen, there is a need for experienced Post Office delivery truck mishaps and recklessness attorneys. USPS traffic accidents are so common that the Postmaster-General set up its own "Accident Reporting Process Audit Report" reporting system!
Recent National News Involving Postal Vehicle Tragedies.
"...two people were killed after a truck and a mail truck crashed at Longmeadow and South streets around 11:30 a.m. The crash has caused part of Route 5 in Longmeadow near the Connecticut line to close while police determine how the deadly accident occurred." (Source - "Two dead after crash involving USPS mail truck"- https://www.postaltimes.com/postalnews/two-dead-after-crash-involving-usps-mail-truck).
"A U.S. Postal Service driver was not injured after the truck he was driving found its way into a Hamburg Township creek Tuesday morning. The Postal Service truck was lifted out of Chilson Creek leading into Oneida Lake using a crane around 10 a.m. The driver said he was not injured from the crash but declined to comment further at the scene." (Source - "U.S. Postal Service driver uninjured after mail truck crashes into creek" - https://www.livingstondaily.com/story/news/local/2020/05/05/u-s-postal-service-driver-ok-after-mail-truck-crashes-into-creek/3084429001).
"The driver of a United States Postal Service semi-truck was taken to the hospital in critical condition following a multi-car crash on the 110 Freeway. The semi-truck left the southbound lanes of the 110 Freeway after being struck and landed below, near 37th and Flower streets." (Source - "Driver In Critical Condition After Crash Forces USPS Semi-Truck Off 110 Freeway" - https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/01/27/driver-in-critical-condition-after-usps-semi-truck-leaves-highway). "
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department vehicle and a United States Postal Service mail truck were involved in a multi-vehicle crash in Carson Saturday. The deputy-involved crash occurred at around 6:07 p.m. near the intersection of East Carson Street and South Avalon Boulevard, the LASD's Carson station said. It was not immediately clear if any deputies were injured, authorities said. Newschopper4 Bravo observed at least two other vehicles involved in the collision, and the sheriff's vehicle was on the sidewalk with notable damage." (Source - "Sheriff's Vehicle, USPS Truck Involved in Multi-Car Crash in Carson." - https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sheriffs-vehicle-usps-truck-crash-in-carson/148213).
As seen in the quote snippets above, USPS delivery collisions are far more common than most people might suspect. The US Post Office was founded by one of the framers of the Constitution, Ben Franklin, in 1775. He alone was appointed as its very first postmaster general. Modernly, the USPS maintains and operates the biggest fleet of quasi-private delivery vehicles in the world. As of the writing of this article, USPS had over, with more than 200,000 vehicles in active service for mail delivery purposes.
What Makes USPS Different Than Other Delivery Vehicle Companies?
Well, for one, it is the only federally authorized organization to deliver most U.S. mail, which carries strong federal penalties if that mail gets tampered with, or wantonly destroyed. Another major difference between the USPS and a company like FedEx, or UPS, for example, is that USPS maintains an aging vehicle fleet wrought with mechanical and injury-related issues. As a matter of fact, reports indicate that over half of U.S. Post Office delivery vehicles are far too old to be on the roads. But since, like most of your government-subsidized agencies, the USPS always runs in the red, there is no money to buy a newer vehicle fleet.
Are Older USPS Vehicles Wrought With Failing Equipment Or Catch Fire?
Yes! Moreover, there are trucks and Jeeps in service right now with the USPS that are 30 or more years old. Because of this, many of these older delivery trucks are missing things like airbags and other safer features present in modern delivery vehicles. Because of the miles driven and the age of the drivetrain, even with regular maintenance, USPS vehicles are known to break down and even catch fire.
Still worse, due to the Jeep's right-hand drive, many drivers risk left side blind spot related collisions. So postal trucks, in particular, remain at risk for sideswipes and lane change collisions. Most of all, any impact with one of these older trucks places the driver at risk for a spontaneous fuel ignition and fire. When we think of most commercial accidents, tire retread blowouts come to mind.
An out of control USPS vehicle can lose control, killing bystanders, and USPS employees when this happens. And that flying object caused by a piece of exploding steel-belted radial tire can end up striking a pedestrian or another vehicle, killing, injuring, or blinding others.
What Are Some Common USPS Vehicle Equipment Failures?
- Vehicle Engine Fires. The aging fleet of postal Jeeps and trucks traveling our roads has experienced a rash of engine fires. Below, we discuss USPS vehicle fires in more detail.
- Bad brakes. Older brake systems, including "drum brakes," fail often. Despite constant repairs, wear and tear alone dictates that brake will fail, leading to wrongful death or some other severe personal injury.
- Related mechanical defects.
- Bad windshield wipers. Something as simple as a worn-out wiper blade can be a death sentence to road users. We must remember that letter carriers deliver mail during rain, sleet, or snow. Imagine trying to drive an older AMC Jeep with broken or failing wiper motors during a vicious downpour or windy rainstorm.
- Broken headlamps or tail lights. Navigation of a Postal truck during darker hours requires operating headlamps. And spotting a vehicle from the rear in the evening requires the lead vehicle to maintain appropriately working tail light and brake lights. Even during daylight hours, due to the frequent stops, a USPS truck makes broken tail lights can mean getting rear-ended. Most of all, if other drivers traveling behind a USPS aren’t aware the vehicle is stopping, lives are placed at risk in residential neighborhoods, with small children playing outside.
What Are Some Examples Of Postal Vehicle Fires?
Many of us have heard about the risks of USPS workers getting robbed at knife or gunpoint, especially during the Christmas season. But wait until we cover death and maiming due to a USPS vehicle fire. Below we discuss the horrific burns and suffering letter carriers confront whenever they get behind the wheel of a USPS vehicle.
And it's a sad, preventable mishap that must be addressed. And it's not just fires caused by mechanical failure. The USPS has been warning its drivers that the use of "MDD" chargers to cool and store drinks. The facts relate the many drivers have rigged four-way splitters from the aging vehicle's cigarette lighter outlets. (Source)
What Are Some Examples Of Postal Delivery Vehicle Fires And Their Causes?
August 20, 2020 - This morning, members of @natick.fire responded to reports of a postal vehicle fire on Grant St. according to Postal Times. Upon arrival, the firemen found a US Postal Truck engulfed in flames and burning out of control. However, reports indicate that the fire was extinguished rapidly. And that most of the U.S. mail and other packages were reclaimed from the USPS vehicle according to first responders and the USPS after this Postal truck fire.
“On Friday, August 9, 2019, a tractor-trailer was involved in an accident that involved fire on Interstate 70 west of Columbia, MO. The Inspection Service has proclaimed the volume on that truck to be a total loss. The truck contained designating volumes to the following zip codes: 65301, 65305, 65323, 65324, 65325, 65326, 65327, 65329, 65332, 65333, 65334, 65335, 65336, 65337, 65338, 65345, 65348, 65350, 65351, 65354, 65355, 65360. If you are missing mail from that time frame, contact the sender to have it resent.” According to Chuck Allcorn, anyone missing mail from that date should check with his or her banking institution to see if deposits were made and if they have unpaid bills.“
This is a reason that electronic banking is safer than mailing checks,” said Allcorn. “A customer at Hawthorn can have deposits made and bills paid all electronically.” There is no way to recover any mail from the truck involved in the fire so it is up to people living in those zip codes to check to see if their mail was involved. “If you were expecting a check, you should call your bank,” concluded Allcorn. (Source).
July 23, 2020 - WILLIAMSBURG, Va. A USPS postal carrier suffered no injuries after a USPS vehicle had caught fire during the morning hours of the route, in Williamsburg. The wreck took place inside of the 6200 block of Glenwilton Lane just before 10:30 a.m., according to emergency dispatchers. (Source).
What Are Some Steps To Take After An Accident With A USPS Driver?
USPS mail carriers must strictly comply with both state and federal safety rules. Because the USPS remains a federal organization, the Department of Transportation ("DOT") has set forth specific guidelines for mail delivery personnel here. Like other private companies, the USPS mandates that its workers obey these regulations, as well as participate in driver training and understand essential vehicle maintenance.
After a USPS accident, USPS delivery drivers must:
Always keep in mind that postal workers are primarily operating older, constantly breaking down delivery vehicles. Due to the constant stop along their delivery routes, these drivers risk burning up the brakes and running over children darting into the street. Also, the workers themselves can become easily distracted due to the constant exiting and entering the vehicle and sorting of packages and letters. However, going after the mail people for money damages is a nightmare even for well-trained lawyers due to the government's relationship with the USPS.
But accidents with the USPS are unlike accidents with other commercial vehicles, which are already complex because the USPS is a government agency—because of this, filing a lawsuit to recover damages for an accident is not as simple as a suit against the driver or the USPS. Because the agency is an arm of the government, lawsuits must be filed against the United States to collect damages.
How Do I File a Claim in Federal Court (FTCA Claim)?As noted, an experienced legal counselor is a must for these types of cases. Only a lawyer who understands FTCA lawsuits against the government is capable of handling this matter. Moreover, this remains a person who comprehends the complexities, the nightmare paperwork, and the limited time deadlines you must follow if you want to recover damages. Damages are the legal term we lawyers use to describe the money you can get as a personal injury victim. Economic damages are what you spent or will spend on things like medical bills, physical therapy, property damage. Non-economic damages help pay for your pain and suffering.
- You must comply with the notice requirements under the FTCA (generally six months from the date of the injury) by serving your complaint on the appropriate party, in this case, the USPS/Postmaster General.
- Your attorney will include the relevant facts leading to your physical and financial losses. As noted above, these are damages. Your request for damages must show that they were inevitable and unavoidable. It helps to include what you did to mitigate your damages. Don't get crazy; just include the basic meritorious facts for the USPS investigator your claim. Typically you will consist of evidence of hospital expenses, lost past, present, and future wages as well as pain and suffering. But without an expert injury lawyer, you will be at a significant disadvantage unless you have a talented lawyer like attorney Michael Ehline, Esq.
- After the USPS receives and stamps your papers, they have up to six months to make a decision. Although there is a slight chance, they will find in your favor and pay you, that is usually not the case. Even with smoking-gun evidence, your claim will generally be rejected and given a letter explaining that you will not be paid. We lawyers call this a "letter to sue." In other words, now that you have exhausted your administrative remedy, you may now proceed to court and sue for damages and restitution.
Options for Settling your Federal Tort Claims Act ClaimThe number one item discussed above is generally not going to happen. But if you can settle your case during the administrative claims process, you will not have to sue. Number two is simply to immediately file your case after you are greenlighted and proceed to federal court. Once you file the lawsuit, a federal attorney from the U.S. Department of Justice will be assigned to litigate the case against you.
What About Private Contractor For The USPS - How Do I Handle That?Usually, the FTCA only applies to cases where you are suing a government agency. Because of this, private or "independent" contractors must normally be sued in regular court.
But if you can prove the USPS is vicariously liable as an employer, you can definitely sue the private party under the FTCA, since they are really USPS workers. Typically the plaintiff must prove the USPS had control over the routes, schedules, and control over hours and such. Once you show sufficient supervisor control, you can sue the contractor under the FTCA.And even if you do prove the above, you are still limited by the federal scheme. Most lawyers don't like the limitations associated with these USPS cases. So it's always better to have a case against a private commercial insurance company for a contractor, rather than a government agency under negligence law. Winning a case against the federal government could result in an award of millions of dollars, depending on your injuries. Because of this, the defendant's lawyer will work very hard to defeat you in court. Probably, the only way you can win is by hiring a superior personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles like Michael Ehline.
Call a Postal Vehicle Accident Lawyer Immediately.No matter what type of entity you are suing, only a lawyer will be able to help you build the value of your case. Evidence gathering and difficult evidentiary negotiations should be left to expert witnesses and attorneys. Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC makes it happen for all USPS victims from start to finish. And if we don't win your case, we promise we won't take a dime in attorney's fees. Since our firm only works on a contingency fee, we hold a stake in the claim along with you. We get a portion of the winnings, or our service is free of charge to you.
- Two Seriously Injured In Postal Vehicle Rollover Crash: https://abc7chicago.com/traffic/2-seriously-injured-in-mail-truck-rollover-crash/561945/