With the pandemic now in its sixth month in the US, you might expect everything to begin settling into place. Restaurants have fully embraced take-out and delivery options, many businesses are having their employees work from home, social distancing is in place to protect employees who are still on-site, and telecommunication has even allowed the court system to resume operating in a limited capacity. However, one sector that has not yet settled is mail — specifically the United States Postal Service.
The USPS has been reducing both the number of hours its employees work and the number of active workers at any one time. This is leading to a backlog of mail that needs to be delivered. And to make matters worse, this is coming at a time when people are ordering items online more than ever before. Because of all this, in some cases, mail has been delayed for as long as three weeks. These kinds of delays are more than just frustrating. Many mail items are time-sensitive, such as medications, checks, and documents that need to be submitted before deadlines expire. This is a problem for workers’ compensation cases.
Medications by Mail
With fewer people wanting to visit physical pharmacies and telehealth options expanding, ordering medications by mail has risen in popularity. But if your medication does not arrive when you need it, it is not doing you any good. To combat this problem, you should refill as early as you can. If postal delivery becomes a problem, you may want to ask the pharmacy about alternative delivery options such as UPS or direct delivery.
Compensation Check Delays
Compensation checks can be even more important to receive on time than medication. Medications such as painkillers are time-sensitive because you want them when you are in pain. But for many injured workers, compensation checks are how they are able to stay up to date with their bills while they are out of work. If your check is late, you should tell your attorney so they can see if there are any alternative payment options. Direct deposit may be one such option that can bypass the problem with USPS delays.
However, it may also be a good idea to save up a little extra buffer right now in case you find yourself in this situation. These delays can happen to anyone who receives their checks through USPS and there may not be much an attorney can do to quickly correct the problem
Important Documents with Deadlines
Potentially the worst-case scenario is if important documents with strict deadlines run into delays while in the mail. Missing a deadline can be very serious in any legal case, but this is especially true when your work injury compensation is on the line. And the delays that can plague mailed documents work in both directions. It is possible for the documents to be delayed on their way to you, or it is possible for the delay to happen when you mail the documents back.
As soon as you receive any documents from your employer, the workers’ compensation insurance company, or the court, especially if they were delayed, contact your lawyer’s office. Time is of the essence when it comes to legal documents. They must be correctly filled out and submitted to the proper offices.
The United States Postal Service has been suffering from delays in recent months. Some of these delays are due to a reduced number of workers or work hours. Other delays are due to an increase in the use of the postal service as people order more products online. And there may even be additional causes of these delays behind the scenes. No matter the cause, USPS delays can have a significant impact on your workers’ compensation case. Your medications and compensation checks may arrive later than they should, and important court documents could be delayed beyond their deadlines.
If you are experiencing delays regarding any aspect of your case due to the USPS, contact my law office right away. My name is Geoffrey Hillsberg, and I have made Workers’ Compensation Law in Pennsylvania my sole area of practice since 1995. I will put my decades of experience to work for you and your rights after a work-related injury.
The advice offered above is general in nature and may not be applicable to every case. Consultation with an attorney is highly recommended. Reliance on this advice does not represent the formation of an attorney-client relationship in the absence of a fee agreement with Mr. Hillsberg.