CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield mail carrier was injured in an accident on the job but the compensation he received was not nearly enough to cover his expenses. It wasn’t until 8News inquired on his behalf that the U.S. Department of Labor reopened the case.

Garland Hollins told 8News that, at first, he was just thankful to be alive. On Oct. 20, 2022, he was out on delivery, sitting in his parked mail truck on Elkhardt Road, when an oncoming vehicle crashed into him. The collision caused the other vehicle to flip over and Hollins to be thrown from his mail truck. As his mail truck continued to roll from the impact, it almost ran him over.

“Just lying in the middle of the road. Just thinking about your kids,” Hollins said. “The only thing I could think about is they’re not going to have a father anymore.”

The entire frightening scene was captured by a neighbor’s home security camera.

“I’m thankful to be here,” Hollins said. “I think the average person wouldn’t have survived the accident.”

Soon after the crash, Hollins says he was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery on his lacerated knee that had a tree branch and gravel stuck inside of it. Other parts of his body were also damaged — including his back, which was severely bruised. However, his injuries were only the beginning of his troubles.

“When I got back home, it was another total life change because I had to depend on other people to take care of me,” Hollins said. “Couldn’t get around, couldn’t wash myself, couldn’t feed myself … The pain was excruciating. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

Because of Hollins’ injuries, he wasn’t fit for work and had to apply for workers’ compensation in order to continue receiving pay. Hollins filed for workers’ compensation in October 2022 but was denied by the U.S. Department of Labor due to a lack of evidence. As a result, Hollins went without a paycheck for months.

“I have a mortgage to pay. I have car payments. Insurance,” Hollins said. “I pretty much depleted my savings.”

The Postal Service did send Hollins a check for one day’s work in October — but after all of his deductions and taxes, he was left with just $18.64.

“I don’t think I’ve been taken care of like I should have been,” Hollins said.

8News reached out to the U.S. Department of Labor for an explanation as to why Hollins’ compensation claim was denied.

Kellianne P. Conaway, a deputy administrator with the department explained that Hollins’ case was being reopened and admitted it was because of 8News’ inquiries.

Hollins received a new letter on Jan. 24, explaining that the treatment for his knee injuries had been accepted. Notice of the decision also explained the original reasons his claim was denied.

According to the letter, Hollins filed for workers’ compensation on Oct. 25. The U.S. Department of Labor responded, advising him to provide additional evidence — specifically, a medical report from his attending physician.

In response, Hollins sent a plethora of medical documents — including CT scan results and X-ray results from the day of the accident. But, on Jan. 4, the department denied his claim because none of the medical diagnoses they received were signed by a “qualified physician.”

On Jan. 24, weeks after the denial of Hollins’ claim, the department received new medical evidence that had not been considered — including a medical diagnosis from Hollins’ doctor on the day of the injury, explaining the injuries had been sustained in a work-related incident.

According to Conway, the postal service will now pay him his normal wages for 45 days after the accident. After the 45 days, the letter says Hollins may claim workers’ compensation to take over payments for the remainder of his recovery.

Hollins says he is happy to finally be receiving compensation but it can’t cover the memories he missed out on with his family.

“I had to tell my kids that we are going to have to have Christmas in April or May,” Hollins said. “I deserve backpay from the day I got into this accident.”