Last week, a police cruiser and a vehicle holding four civilians were involved in a car accident at the intersection of Christopher Street and Greenwich Street in the West Village of Manhattan. All four civilians had to be taken to the hospital as a result of the injuries they sustained in the accident. See New York Post.
While in most instances those four civilians would have the luxury of a three year statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit, under New York State law, if you want to sue a municipal entity, such as the New York City Police Department, you only have ninety days in which to file a Notice of Claim with the correct city agency or be barred from ever making a claim or bringing a lawsuit.
Importantly, filing a Notice of Claim is different from starting a lawsuit. Generally, a lawsuit is commenced by filing and serving a Summons and Complaint. The purpose of a Notice of Claim is not to start a lawsuit, but instead to simply notify the relevant municipal agency that you may h
Importantly, filing a Notice of Claim is different from starting a lawsuit. Generally, a lawsuit is commenced by filing and serving a Summons and Complaint. The purpose of a Notice of Claim is not to start a lawsuit, but instead to simply notify the relevant municipal agency that you may have a claim against them to permit them to investigate the claim. However, if you fail to file a Notice of Claim within ninety days of the date of your accident, you will be forever barred from filing a lawsuit.
After filing the Notice of Claim, New York State Law also mandates that you participate in an examination under oath, known as a 50-h hearing, so that the municipality may learn the basic facts of your claim.
Only after the Notice of Claim is filed and the hearing is done are you able to start a lawsuit against the a municipality. It's also important to remember that, even though the municipality is given the Notice of Claim within ninety days of the accident, you are further limited by a shorter statute of limitations of one year and ninety days from the date of your accident in which you can start a lawsuit. Also, it is important to be aware that certain municipalities and public benefit corporations may have even shorter time requirements to file a Notice of Claim or a lawsuit.
As a result, it is extremely important in instances where you are injured and a municipal entity may be a defendant, such as in a car accident with a police cruiser, that you contact an attorney as soon as possible so they can get the correct paperwork quickly submitted to the right municipal entity.