Can I sue homeowner or USPS for a 40 pound steel mailbox that killed my wife?

Extremely large mailbox 10’w x12.5’t x22’long
made of 1/8′ steel set on a 3′ steel post.
Face of box was only 6′ from edge of road.
Only half of the car was off the pavement on
an undivided rual road. She hit the mailbox
and it came into the car and hit her in the
face killing her instantly. The car rolled to
a stop and remained running and driveable.
She was only a quarter mile from home. If
she would have hit any other regular mailbox
she could have corrected herself and drove
home. I found the lid to the mailbox inside
car with her blood splattered on it. Is there
a criminal case? Is there a civil case?
Happened in Illinois.

Asked on December 8, 2018 under Accident Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, you can't sue them, because they did nothing wrong. You can only sue when someone does something unreasonably careless which causes injury or death. But you write that the mailbox was 6 feet off the road--there is nothing unreasonably careless about putting any solid object  on your property 6' off the road, because drivers are supposed to stay on the road and not drive fully 6' off it. There is nothing unreasonable about having an object 6' into your property, off the road. The homeowner or USPS are not liable here, the same way as a homeowner would not be liable if someone were killed hitting a tree planted on the homeowner's property, or a fence/gate, etc.
For the same reason, there is no criminal case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.