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

Answers:

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.


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