Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Explain Some Important Things You Need To Know About the Notice of Claim Requirement
If you suffered an injury caused by a municipal defendant like the City of New York or the New York City Housing Authority, you do have the right to file a legal claim. There are, however, certain specific things you must do before you have the legal right to start a lawsuit against this type of defendant. Here are some important things you should know if you have a claim against a municipal defendant.
What is a Municipal Defendant?
A municipal defendant is a defendant that is operated by a municipality. Whether you have a car accident case, a medical malpractice case, a premises liability case or any other type of injury case, there are certain legal requirements you must follow if the defendant is a municipal defendant. Some common municipal defendants include:
- The City of New York;
- New York City Housing Authority (Owner of many large buildings in New York City);
- New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (Operator of many hospitals in New York City);
- New York City Transit Authority (Operator of New York City’s subways);
- Manhattan And Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (Operator of NYC Buses in Manhattan and Bronx);
- New York City Police Department (Operator of local police);
- Department of Education (Operator of New York City Public Schools);
- And many, many others.
Local counties, villages, towns, cities, school districts and public benefit corporations are also municipal defendants because each is essentially operated or controlled by local government.
Why Is It Important To Know If The Defendant Is a Municipal Defendant?
It is important to know whether you are making a claim against a municipal defendant because cases against these defendants have certain legal requirements that must be met before a lawsuit can even be started. Specifically, you must:
- File a Notice of Claim within 90 days;
- Testify at a hearing, known as a 50h hearing, if requested; and
- Submit to a physical examination, if requested.
These requirements are mandatory. If you fail to comply with any of these requirements, you do not legally have the right to file a lawsuit. In addition to these requirements, lawsuits against municipal defendants have a much shorter statute of limitation than cases against private defendants. The statute of limitations is a set of rules that sets out the time limits that you have to file a lawsuit depending on the type of claim you are filing.
What is a Notice of Claim?
A Notice of Claim is a legal document that must be prepared and served within 90 days of the incident that gives rise to the action. The notice of claim must be in writing and signed by the person bringing the claim. Although there is no specific format that is mandatory, there are some things that every notice of claim must include:
- Name and address of the claimant;
- The contact information (if any) for their attorney;
- What the claim is for;
- When and where the incident occurred;
- Circumstances that are relevant to the claim;
- The current known damages or injuries that were sustained.
The information contained in the Notice of Claim must be truthful to the best of the claimant’s knowledge. The legislative intent behind the Notice of Claim requirement was to give the municipal defendant the opportunity to investigate the claim, before a lawsuit was filed. Once a Notice Claim is filed, the municipal defendant may ask you to testify at a hearing, as well as appear for a physical examination by a doctor of its choosing. Once these steps are taken, and the municipal defendant fails to settle your claim, you are then permitted to file a lawsuit. Generally, legal actions against municipal defendants must be filed within one year and 90 days of the loss, although this is not always true.
What If My Notice of Claim Was Not Filed Within 90 days?
Failing to file your Notice of Claim within 90 days can be the end of your case. Although the Court can permit a late filing, this is done sparingly by the Courts. While there are some limited legal grounds that can justify a late filing, these types of applications are usually denied.
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If you have any questions concerning your claim against a municipal defendant and the notice of claim requirement, you can email or call (800) 762-9300. You can also fill out one of our case intake forms, and we will have one of our experienced personal injury attorneys get right back to you.
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