Pursuing an accident claim can be complicated enough, but what happens if a mail truck gets in an accident? Filing a claim involving a USPS truck is a multi-step process. It’s helpful to have an experienced California trucking accident lawyer assisting you. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., we have years of experience representing clients for accident claims involving government vehicles. We understand the process and the nuances of filing an injury claim against the government. If you sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident with a mail truck, contact our office to learn how we can assist you.  

Do Mail Trucks Have the Right of Way?

Over the years, there have been myths about USPS mail trucks having the right of way over all other vehicles, even emergency vehicles. This urban legend may have started because postal trucks fall under federal jurisdiction rather than state law. However, mail trucks must still follow the local traffic laws of the area they are driving. Failure to do so could result in a traffic violation. The driver would be responsible for paying the offense in most cases.

The one law where mail truck drivers have some leeway involves seatbelt usage. If a mail truck driver isn’t driving more than 500 feet, turning a corner, or crossing an intersection, they are allowed to use a lap belt so they can quickly exit and re-enter their truck. All other times, they must wear a shoulder belt like all other drivers.

Common Causes of Mail Truck Accidents

Numerous actions or inactions can lead to an accident involving a USPS mail truck. These drivers spend a considerable time on the road, even though they may not cover significant mileage. It can be a stressful job, which can ultimately contribute to fatigue and distraction. Some of the most common causes of mail truck accidents we represent clients for include:

  • Distracted driving—drivers are often distracted looking for addresses, monitoring GPS, etc.
  • Improperly loaded or secured cargo—whoever is in charge of loading the cargo may not load it correctly, leading to cargo falling out;
  • Irregular stops and slow speeds—mail trucks are not like other vehicles you encounter on the road, because they drive below the posted speed limit and repeatedly stop on the road; and
  • Wrong-side driving—typically more common in rural areas, but mail carriers sometimes drive on the wrong side of the road to save time.

If your accident doesn’t fit one of these scenarios, it doesn’t mean we can’t assist you with your claim. These are just some of the more common causes of mail truck accidents.

Filing a Claim with the United States Postal Service

Filing a claim with the USPS can be complicated. Having an attorney represent you from the start is important. The process is different because these claims involve the government and the Federal Tort Claims Act applies. With a regular auto accident, you would make a claim against the other driver’s insurance company. In this case, you are presenting a claim to the United States government. They don’t have any insurance because the government is self-insured for losses.

The timeline for these claims is also very different. You must adhere to the claim deadlines set forth by the government. That means you have only a short window to file and assert an injury claim. Once you file the initial claim, the government will review your case and send you a response. They may or may not offer you any compensation for your injuries. If the government’s response is unfavorable, you can then file a lawsuit. However, you only have six months, so you don’t want to waste time.

Before you can collect compensation under the Federal Tort Claims Act, you must show evidence that:

  • A federal employee caused your injuries and damages;
  • They were working at the time of the accident;
  • The employee acted negligently; and
  • Their negligent actions are what caused your injuries.

The procedural rules are also different from government claims, which is why you need a skilled legal advocate on your side.

Contact Our California Trucking Accident Attorneys

When dealing with the United States government, it’s always best to have an experienced lawyer represent you. Do not attempt to go through the process alone; let our skilled legal team assist you. We have years of experience dealing with claims against the government. We understand the rules and how best to build a case. If you are searching for information on what happens if a mail truck gets in an accident, let Silva Injury Law, Inc. help. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review your case and help you determine the best course of action. Remember, the filing time is considerably shorter with claims against the government. Act quickly, so you don’t jeopardize your right to compensation.