Post Office Truck Accidents
Postal trucks are everywhere on the road in Seattle and Kirkland and Washington State. They are an important part of the US economy and society as they are tasked with delivering the nation’s mail. While the majority of the time these trucks safely deliver their parcels and packages on time, there are occasions when they create an accident. When they do, the affects can be very bad on those involved. These postal trucks can weigh much more than normal vehicles if they are freighted with parcels and packages. Given their size, they can create serious accidents.Washington State Postal Truck Laws
Postal trucks are considered commercial vehicles, which means they have large insurance policies from national insurance companies that insure them, or they are self-insured through the postal service. Being a commercial vehicle, this means that there is government regulation involved, much greater than that of ordinary vehicles on the road.
The government imposes stricter regulations on commercial vehicles. Postal trucks, unlike some commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers, Postal trucks are allowed to enter neighborhoods and residential streets to drop off their packages. This creates a greater hazard for those people on the road who have to come into contact with the postal truck.
Typically, there are two specific reasons when there is an accident with a postal truck that is not your fault. It is either the driver’s fault or the post office’s fault. On some rare occasions, there can be a combination of both, meaning the driver committed a negligent error and postal truck was negligent in how they maintained their trucks.
Common reasons for postal truck accidents when the driver is at fault:
- Driver not getting enough sleep
- Driver not having enough experience
- Driver not paying attention, such as being on the phone
- Driver distraction, such as texting
In order for a commercial driver to be on the road in Washington State who is operating a Postal truck, they need to have what is called a CDL or a commercial driver’s license. This kind of license requires some effort on the applicant. A driver must pass a background check and pass several fitness tests as well. In addition, responsible companies should also have internal background and fitness checks with which they screen their applicants. However, as you can imagine, companies do not always do their due diligence in hiring a trucker for their company.
While the majority of postal truck accidents are the result of driver error, there can also be instances when the post office should be blamed for the accident.
Below are common reasons for the post office being at fault for the accident:
- Tire blowouts
- Brake problems
- Vehicle maintenance issues
- Failing to properly screen or vet drivers
- Cargo that was not properly secured
Sometimes post office fails to properly maintain their trucks and they put their drivers in trucks that are not safe, for a variety of reasons, ranging from brakes that are aging and faulty, tires that are bald and need replacing, and vehicles that are not properly marked for nighttime driving, which can make the truck hard to see. If this is the case, the company shares responsibility for the accident they caused.
There are times, however, the insurance company for the post office will attempt to conceal internal company documents that show how neglectful the post office has been in properly and safely maintaining their truck, or when they fail to show that there have been other, similar accidents involving their trucks over the years.
There are very important steps you have to take when you file a claim against the post office, or any part of the federal government for that matter. The case must be filed in federal court and it must be done under what is called the FTCA—Federal Tort Claims Act. In order to win this kind of case, you have to prove that:
- The postal worker was working at the time of the accident
- The postal worker was negligent—i.e. meaning reckless, or careless enough to hurt you.
- The negligence by the postal worker is the reason you got hurt.
- The postal worker was the cause of your injuries.
If you cannot prove each and every one of these elements under federal law, you cannot win your case. It is best to speak to an attorney who can help you with proving each of these elements in court.Common Postal Service Truck Accident Injuries
You likely have very grave and life-altering injuries if you have been struck by a postal truck. Post office trucks are vehicles much larger than normal vehicles, and they can cause significant damage to other cars and occupants on the road.
The most common injuries associated with postal truck injuries are:
- Wrongful death
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Knee injuries
If you have suffered any of these injuries, the likelihood is not good that these injuries will resolve on their own. In most instances, you will have to see a medical professional to help you recover. Aside from primary care doctors, the most common kinds of healthcare providers to treat people who have been in accidents with utility trucks are osteopaths, physiatrists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists.
Any of these healthcare providers can render quality care to you and they likely know the appropriate specialist who can treat you if you have been injured by a utility truck.How The Jackman Law Firm can Help
If you have been injured by a postal truck, then your life may have been permanently altered, or at least temporarily so. You are likely facing phone calls from insurance companies, medical appointments, you may be losing money from work since you are unable to work, and many phone calls from insurance companies. If this is the case, why go through this process alone? The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover:
- Money for lost wages
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for medical bills
- Money for lost wages
The Jackman Law Firm can assist you with all of these things. In addition, we can stand between you and the insurance company for the post office. While it is not common, there are also instances when the post office’s insurance company may allege that you were either partly or completely at fault for the accident. If this unfortunate and untrue allegation is brought against you, then you need an attorney who can help you.
The Jackman Law Firm can assist you by sending subpoenas for any video footage that may have captured the accident, interviewing witnesses and bystanders, and speaking to the police, assuming an investigation was done.
If, through the discovery process of litigation, it can be proven that the postal truck was not properly maintained, then the Jackman Law Firm has the resources and experience to investigate the company internally and find out if the company was failing to properly maintain their vehicle, such as not checking and fixing their brakes, making sure the tires are properly maintained and inflated, and making sure the vehicle is safe to be on the road.
Given that a claim against a postal truck must be made in federal court, the Jackman Law Firm can also help you file the proper documents in federal court, which is different than state court. If you do not prove every element of your claim, and if you do not file, procedurally and timely, the right documents, known as pleadings, your case could easily be dismissed and you will not be allowed to recover any money for your injuries.
If you have questions about your postal truck accident, feel free to call for a free consultation to discuss your case.