A-11576, DECEMBER 1, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 404

A-11576: Dec 1, 1925

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1925: RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 14. THE AUTHORITY TO PAY DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL INJURIES IS FOUND IN THE ACT APPROVED JUNE 16. AS FOLLOWS: WHEN ANY DAMAGE IS DONE TO PERSON OR PROPERTY BY OR THROUGH THE OPERATION OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN ANY BRANCH OF ITS SERVICE AND SUCH DAMAGE IS FOUND BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL UPON INVESTIGATION TO BE A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS HEREBY INVESTED WITH POWER TO ADJUST AND SETTLE ANY CLAIM FOR SUCH DAMAGE WHEN HIS AWARD FOR SUCH DAMAGE IN ANY CASE DOES NOT EXCEED $500 * * *. THE APPROPRIATION MADE BY CONGRESS FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH CLAIMS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JANUARY 22.

A-11576, DECEMBER 1, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 404

DAMAGES - PERSONAL INJURIES AWARDS MADE BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO PERSONS DAMAGED BY OPERATION OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN ANY BRANCH OF ITS SERVICE MAY NOT INCLUDE COMPENSATION FOR PHYSICAL PAIN AND SUFFERING TRACEABLE TO A PERSONAL INJURY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, DECEMBER 1, 1925:

RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 14, 1925, REQUESTING A DECISION UPON THE QUESTION WHETHER IN CASES WHERE YOU FIND A CLAIM FOR PERSONAL INJURIES BY A MOTOR VEHICLE TO BE A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES THERE MAY BE GRANTED TO THE CLAIMANT AN AMOUNT WHICH WOULD INCLUDE AN ALLOWANCE FOR THE PAIN AND SUFFERING UNDERGONE BY THE CLAIMANT.

THE AUTHORITY TO PAY DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL INJURIES IS FOUND IN THE ACT APPROVED JUNE 16, 1921, 42 STAT. 63, AS FOLLOWS:

WHEN ANY DAMAGE IS DONE TO PERSON OR PROPERTY BY OR THROUGH THE OPERATION OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN ANY BRANCH OF ITS SERVICE AND SUCH DAMAGE IS FOUND BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL UPON INVESTIGATION TO BE A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS HEREBY INVESTED WITH POWER TO ADJUST AND SETTLE ANY CLAIM FOR SUCH DAMAGE WHEN HIS AWARD FOR SUCH DAMAGE IN ANY CASE DOES NOT EXCEED $500 * * *.

THE APPROPRIATION MADE BY CONGRESS FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH CLAIMS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JANUARY 22, 1925, 43 STAT. 784, IN THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

TO ENABLE THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO PAY CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT APPROVED JUNE 16, 1921, $10,000.

THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY GIVEN THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS TO SETTLE AND ADJUST CLAIMS "WHEN ANY DAMAGE IS DONE TO PERSON OR PROPERTY.' IT MEANS AN APPARENT DAMAGE DONE, THE AMOUNT OF WHICH IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF DEFINITE ASCERTAINMENT, AND THE INDUCEMENT OF THE COMPENSATION OR DAMAGES TO BE AWARDED IS THE EXPENDITURE INCURRED BY THE INJURED PERSON TO MAKE WHOLE OR REPAIR, AND NOT THE INTANGIBLE ELEMENT OF PAIN OR SUFFERING. THERE IS NO ESTABLISHED RULE BY WHICH TO MEASURE DAMAGES OR COMPENSATION FOR PAIN OR SUFFERING, AND THERE APPEARS NO INTENDMENT IN THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY HERE INVOLVED TO INCLUDE SUCH ELEMENTS IN MAKING THE AWARD. I AM CONSTRAINED, THEREFORE, TO ADVISE THAT AN ALLOWANCE AS FOR SUCH DAMAGE WOULD NOT BE PROPER.