United States Postal Service box trucks take to Houston streets daily to deliver mail. USPS semi-truck fleets travel our nation’s highways transporting mail from one end of the country to the other. All these tasks are necessary components of a functioning postal system.
Still, behind the wheel of these box trucks and semi-trucks are human drivers, who can make human errors. Specifically, they can cause serious motor vehicle crashes.
Are crashes involving USPS vehicles common?
Crashes involving USPS vehicles may be more common than you think. In fiscal year 2020, there were over 26,000 crashes involving Postal Service employees.
Crashes involving USPS vehicles are especially prevalent in winter. This is due to poor weather conditions making roads hazardous, an influx of new hires with limited experience driving postal vehicles and an increased workload during the holiday season.
Distracted driving and speeding are two very common causes of USPS vehicle crashes.
Can you sue if you are in a crash caused by a USPS employee?
You have the right to pursue a lawsuit if you are involved in a crash caused by a USPS employee.
In general, personal injury lawsuits are filed against the at-fault driver and/or their insurer. However, under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) the U.S. government steps in as the defendant in a lawsuit involving the negligent acts of a federal employee. This includes USPS employees.
The elements of a claim under the FTCA are as follows. First, the plaintiff must show they suffered injuries due to the act of a federal government employee. Second, the plaintiff must show the incident occurred when the employee was acting within the official scope of their work duties.
Third, the plaintiff must show the employee was negligent. This includes proving the employee had a duty to the plaintiff, which was not met.
Finally, the plaintiff must show that the negligent act caused the injury at issue. This means that but for the negligent act, the injury would not have occurred and that the injury was a foreseeable consequence of the negligent act.
The idea of filing a lawsuit following a trucking accident is not always a pleasant thought, and suing the federal government can be a daunting task. Still, if you are injured in a crash involving a USPS driver, you deserve to be compensated for the damages you suffered.