MUNICIPAL LIABILITYThere is a separate set of timing and procedural requirements when an individual needs to bring a lawsuit against an entity, place or vehicle owned and operated by a municipality. These entities include villages, towns, cities, counties, school districts, public authorities or other state and locally owned businesses. In New York, plaintiffs generally have 3 years to bring a lawsuit to recover for injuries caused by another’s mistake. However, where a municipality or public authority or the state are involved, the time-tables are much shorter and additional requirements must be met. If these things do not happen then the claims can be lost forever.
Claims against municipal entities first require service of a Notice of Claim or a Notice of Intention to file a claim (claims against the State of New York) within 90 days of the accident. Then, a plaintiff must wait at least 30 days for the municipality or the state to have an opportunity to adjust the claim. This condition must be met to preserve a plaintiff’s right to bring a lawsuit. Then, if the claim is not adjusted and paid, the plaintiff must file their lawsuit within 1 year and 90 days of the accident (villages, school districts, towns and some public authorities) or within 2 years where the plaintiff is suing the State of New York.
There are several issues that must be investigated before Notices of Claim or Notices of Intention are served. Determining correct ownership and operation of the place or vehicle involved in an accident is critical and must be done quickly. Similarly, where an accident involves a sidewalk, street or other hazard, many village and town codes require prior written notice of a defect before anyone else can bring a lawsuit.
If you have been injured and you think a municipal entity may be a potential defendant, you need to contact an attorney immediately. Julie has extensive experience handling claims against municipal entities, including claims involving premises liability, medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents.