Postal Service Vehicle Accident Injury Lawyers in Erie, Pennsylvania
The United States Postal Service seeks to hold its drivers to a high standard. However, even with the right training and years of experience, mail carriers can and often do make mistakes. According to the Postal Service’s Safety Dashboard initiative, collisions involving United States Postal Service vehicles are surprisingly common occurrences. While many United States Postal Service accidents result in no discernible damages, others inflict serious and potentially life-altering injuries. After all, a single mail delivery van can weigh between 14,000 and 16,000 pounds—about five times the weight of an ordinary passenger sedan. Even smaller, later-generation vehicles have curb weights exceeding 5,500 pounds.
When the United States Postal Service’s light-duty trucks collide with cars, motorcycles, and bicycles, the impact can have devastating consequences for the other vehicle’s occupants. Although Pennsylvania’s no-fault insurance rules grant accident victims the right to obtain reimbursement from their own policy, the costs of high-quality medical care could surpass their coverage limits. Survivors may feel fortunate to have escaped with their lives but struggle to retain their independence and reclaim their physical strength.
The Dietrich Law Firm P.C. is committed to protecting the rights of accident victims across Erie—and we have the results to prove it. Since 2005, our highly experienced team of award-winning attorneys has obtained more than $175 million in damages from negligent motorists, insurance companies, and government agencies. We could help you, too. Please message us online or call us at 814-839-3939 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.The United States Postal Service and Automobile Accidents
Erie, Pennsylvania, is one of the largest cities in Western Pennsylvania and is home to five United States Postal Service branches, spanning the small office on State Street to the large distribution center on East 38th Street. With so many locations, the Postal Service employs dozens of vehicles and hundreds of employees across the city. Even the smallest United States Postal Service mail delivery vehicles weigh thousands of pounds. While driving a delivery van is a big responsibility, the federal government allows most people to apply for Postal Service positions without qualifications beyond an ordinary state-issued driver’s license. The United States Postal Service’s Safety Dashboard program has, in fact, identified driver inexperience as a leading cause of Postal Service vehicle collisions. Newer, less-experienced mail carriers increase their risk of being involved in an accident when they do the following:
- Attempt to meet performance benchmarks by driving recklessly;
- Drive unfamiliar vehicles in unfamiliar territory; and
- Allow themselves to be distracted by their cell phones, social media, and other technology.
In many ways, accidents involving United States Postal Service vehicles are very similar to accidents involving ordinary automobiles. However, since the Postal Service is a publicly-funded government agency, obtaining fair compensation after a collision could prove unexpectedly challenging. This is because the United States Postal Service is shielded from most personal injury claims by sovereign immunity, a legal doctrine that stipulates that private citizens may only sue the federal government—the sovereign—if the federal government gives them permission to do so. So, even though accident victims still have the right to file no-fault insurance claims for the reimbursement of medical expenses, lost income, and other damages, they often struggle to recover additional compensation from government defendants.
HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED by a UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE VEHICLE in or AROUND ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA?
CALL JED DIETRICH, ESQ., AND HIS TEAM OF HIGHLY QUALIFIED ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA, PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS AT 814-839-3939 NOW TO OBTAIN THE HELP THAT YOU NEED!
When your insurance coverages cannot compensate the totality of your damages, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or entity that caused your accident. However, the limitations posed by the sovereign immunity doctrine can make obtaining a fair recovery more challenging. For years, sovereign immunity broadly prohibited private parties from initiating personal injury claims against the federal government. This changed in 1946 when legislators passed the Federal Torts Claim Act or FTCA. The Federal Torts Claim Act allows accident victims to sue government agencies, including the United States Postal Service, if a government employee negligently caused their accident-related injuries.
In general, the Federal Tort Claims Act only allows litigants to file a claim if their damages were caused by a government employee’s negligent or otherwise wrongful act. You could be entitled to file a Federal Tort Claims Act lawsuit if your claim involves the following elements:
- An employee of the federal government has injured you;
- The government employee was acting within the scope of their ordinary duties;
- The employee was negligent; and
- The employee’s negligent act or other misconduct caused your injuries.
However, even if you have an eligible Federal Torts Claim Act case, filing a lawsuit against the federal government is very different from filing a lawsuit against a private party. Before you can petition a judge or jury for damages, you must first file an administrative claim with the United States Postal Service. Simply lodging an administrative claim can be difficult, as accident victims must provide extensive information about the collision and their injuries. Even after you have filed an administrative claim with the United States Postal Service, you must wait for the agency to receive your claim and respond to it. Depending on the nature of your claim, you might have to wait up to six months for the Postal Service to respond. Once the Postal Service replies, you may either accept a settlement or initiate a Federal Torts Claim Act lawsuit.
You can take your case to court if the United States Postal Service does not offer a fair settlement. However, successfully litigating a claim against the Postal Service could be difficult. Since the United States Department of Justice represents most government agencies in Federal Torts Claim Act cases that cannot be resolved during the administrative claims process, your recovery could be contingent on how quickly you contact an experienced United States Postal Service accident attorney. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C. believes that no accident victim should be forced to pay for a negligent United States Postal Service employee’s misconduct. If a negligent or distracted Postal Service driver caused your Erie, Pennsylvania, accident, our experienced team of attorneys could help you obtain the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Please message us online or call us at 814-839-3939 to schedule your no-obligation appointment.
Call the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. immediately at 814-839-3939 so that our aggressive, tenacious, and hardworking personal injury lawyers can fight to obtain the best result for your personal injury claim in Erie, Pennsylvania. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there is never a fee until we WIN for you!