Who pays the medical bills for car accident while delivering mail?
I was delivering mail on my rural route when a pickup truck rear ended my postal vehicle as I was stopped at a mail box. My extended arm hit the back of the window and my head hit the wall behind the seat. I was stunned and my arm swelled where it had hit. Fire department paramedics took me to the nearest emergency room.
After a CAT scan and X-rays and a couple hours observation, I was released. I filled out the paperwork with my postmaster the next day, but my arm was very sore so I took four days off and put in for the fourth day as workman's compensation. Now I am getting billed by the county for the ambulance ride and the hospital for the emergency room visit.
This happened in October and it is now January. My claim for workman's comp for the day off was turned down by DOL in December, as they said I had not submitted proof that my injuries were serious enough to prevent my working.
They also implied that they would not cover the hospital bills, though I am not certain that DOL is the relevant agency for those. My postmaster tells me not to worry, as USPS has its own accident claims office and will go after the pickup driver's insurance company, but the DOL person said the Post Office is no longer authorized to do that.
Meanwhile, I have retired and don't want these bills coming to my house. What should I do? How do I ensure the proper agency will take care of this? Thank you for any information you can give.
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ANSWER for "Who pays the medical bills for car accident while delivering mail?":
Dan (Fairfax, VA):
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is the federal agency authorized to pay U.S. Postal employees workers' compensation benefits due to an on-the-job injury. In your case, there doesn't seem to be any doubt but that your injury occurred while you were acting entirely within the scope of your employment with the Post Office.
Whether or not the DOL pursues the at-fault driver or his insurance company should be irrelevant. Moreover, if your primary care treating physician stated you were unable to work for any length of time, the DOL should pay you for those days at a reduced rate of about 2/3rds normal pay. The DOL should also pay for the cost of all of your medical procedures required by your primary treating physician.
Go to this page on the DOL’s website for workers' comp information.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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