Car Accidents with US Mail Trucks
So, how are you going to handle the situation if you've been involved in an automobile accident with a US mail truck? Today I'd like to explain a little bit about the situation because when you were involved in an accident with a US Mail truck, you are required to follow a specific law called the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). When making a claim under the FTCA, the initial claim is administrative. The initial problem or issue has to do with getting your vehicle fixed. Because you are dealing with the US government, nothing happens quickly so it is best to go under your own insurance, if you have collision coverage. This is the best and quickest way to get your vehicle repaired or totaled. When I say this to people, bells start going off in their head because they are concerned that their insurance rates will go up if they make a claim with their insurance company. This is just not true. It's an old wives tale, if you are not responsible for the accident.
If you try to wait for the Mail Service to repair or replace your vehicle, you will be pulling your hair out of your head. If you have insurance, make the claim with your insurance. If you are not at fault, the accident, your insurance is not going to go up. Listen to uncle guy, go ahead and go through your own insurance.
Getting Your Claim Started Under the FTCA
Now, in order to get a claim started under the Federal Tort Claims Act, you have to file a claim with the administrative agency, in this case the US Mail. Now, problem with that is that you have to be done with your treatment in order to file the claim because on the claim form, which is a form 95, you have to make a specific demand for money damages. So if you put $10,000 on the claim form and you send it in early, but yet your claim is worth more, you can get yourself in a pickle. So just because you think you're okay, you'll want to go ahead and make sure that you are all finished treating, and you're as good as you're going to get before you file the claim.
When you are finished treating and all fixed up, you're going to fill out the claim form, and supply the US Mail with supporting documentation for your claim. This can include medical bills, medical records, and documentation regarding any lost wages.
Once you submit your claim, the agency will evaluate your claim and get back to you. If the agency accepts the claim, you should be able to negotiate the claim with the person handling the claim. However, the US Mail denies the claim, your next step is to file a lawsuit or walk away from your claim. If you choose to file a lawsuit, the Defendant will be the United States and the matter will be filed in Federal Court. There are other differences when you file a FTCA claim. The first difference is that you are giving up your right to a jury trial. A judge will hear your claim and decide your compensation.
The other thing that you need to know about these claims is that typically attorneys in Indiana take personal injury matters on a contingency fee contract track, which is usually 1/3 of the recovery. However, under the FTCA attorney's fees are limited to 20% if the claim is settled at the administrative level or 25% if the matter goes through litigation.
As you can see, there are a number of hoops that you have to jump through in making a claim against the US Mail. You need to be careful, and it's probably best to retain a lawyer to assist you.