Our office recovered $42,500 for U.S. letter carrier injured while delivering the mail.
A thirty-six year old letter carrier letter carrier injured while delivering the mail sprained his ankle. For many letter carriers, getting injured while delivering the mail can be an all too common occurrence. The risks faced by the letter carrier are almost unlimited but this does not mean that the letter carrier is without rights. In fact, a letter carrier has often time many rights, including the right to receive compensation from the property owner for his injuries.
When a letter carrier is injured while delivering the mail, he will automatically have a U.S. workers compensation claim. This will compensate the letter carrier for lost wages and for payment of all of his medical bills incurred. But this is only where the rights of the letter carrier begin. The letter carrier injured while delivering the mail many times will also have a claim against the property owner, in this case, a home owner.
The law in Illinois provides that the owner or occupier of the premises owes to persons present on the premises the duty of exercising ordinary and reasonable care to see that the premises are reasonably safe for their use. This includes duty to discover defects and dangerous conditions and the duty to correct dangers or to give sufficient warning of them.
The exception to this rule of liability to the property owner is when the defect is “open and obvious.” The insurance carrier will invariably invoke this exception to liability by claiming that the defect was “open and obvious” and therefore, they are not responsible.
With all rules, there are exceptions to the rule. And, there are exceptions to the exception. In this case, even if the defect is “open and obvious”, the land owner can still be held liable if he had reason to expect that an invitee’s (i.e. Letter carrier) attention will be distracted, so that the letter carrier will not discover what is obvious, or will forget what he has discovered, or will fail to protect himself against it
In this case, the letter carrier injured while delivering the mail was walking up the front porch steps of an obviously defective front porch steps. So naturally, the insurance carrier claimed there was not liability since the defect was “open and obvious.” However, because it was reasonable to assume that the letter carrier may have been distracted, the home owner was found liable.
The injuries in this case were not serious and did not require surgery. Nevertheless, even for this injury, a sprained ankle, our office was able to obtain for the letter carrier $42,500.00. Letter carriers sustain these and more serious injuries frequently and many times receive nothing for their injuries.
If you are injured due to a defect on the premises which cause you injury, even a relatively minor injury, do not try to resolve these legal issues without an attorney. CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES J. GALE.