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TIME DEADLINES & THE NOTIC OF CLAIM

MISSING A FILING DEADLINE CAN COMPLETELY BAR YOUR CLAIM

There are many time deadlines that present themselves in a personal injury matter. There are various Statute of Limitation filing deadlines, No-Fault filing deadlines, and what I want to discuss here, the 90 day timeline for filing a NOTICE OF CLAIM.

What is a Notice of Claim ?

A Notice of Claim is a form that MUST be filed against any  Town, Village, County, City, State, essentially ANY public entity or municipality, prior to bringing a lawsuit. Once the Notice of Claim is filed, the municipality or municipal agency has the legal right to demand a pre-suit hearing commonly referred to as a 50-h hearing. If the municipality demands the 50-h hearing, you may not commence a lawsuit against the municipality until the hearing is completed.

90 DAYS TO FILE !!

NY law gives all municipalities and municipal agencies the right to receive written notice of any alleged accident and the intent to pursue a claim based upon that accident within 90 days of the accident. This written notice IS the Notice of Claim and if it is not filed upon the subject municipality within 90 days than your claim is time barred and dead in the water.

The 90 day filing timeline is absolute and you must file timely and properly in order to keep your claim alive. Also, this timeline is completely separate and distinct from the Statute of Limitations timeline. For example, NY provides a 3 year Statute of Limitations to bring a automobile accident case. However, If one of the Defendants is also a municipality, you must still file the Notice of Claim within 90 days regardless of the 3 year Statute of Limitations.

Who Gets a Notice of Claim ?

The list is almost endless, but just know that any & every municipality must get a Notice of Claim. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

-NY STATE

-Counties

-Towns, Villages, Hamlets

-Police Departments, Fire Departments

-Public transportation including buses, LI Railroad, NYC Transit, Metro North

-Public hospitals, Public nursing homes, Public health clinics

-Public schools, and local & community school boards

Basically, any public entity or municipality. Lastly, if you are not sure that a municipality is involved in your accident, or not sure exactly which municipality it is, than simply file anyway. It can sometimes take more than 90 days to do a full and complete investigation and at that time you are out of luck. File against everyone, protect your rights and timelines, and than complete your investigation.

Where to File & What To Say

Each & every municipality has a specific person or office that will accept the filing of the Notice of Claim. The person or office who accepts the filing is not universal. Each entity may require a specific format to follow. So be careful. Make sure you are filing at the correct agency. It is advisable to use a professional process service to effectuate proper service.

Section 50-e of the General Municipal Law requires each Notice of Claim to include the date, time, and specific location of the accident. Be as specific as you can. Also, include a description of the incident. The description should have enough specificity to let the municipality know what happened and allow them to investigate your allegations.

Finally, always remember to protect your rights and file within the 90 day timeline. if you have any questions, comments, or feel your were injured due to the negligence of a municipality, contact the Law Office of Frederick Altschuler and allow us to help you  sort through the process.

BE CAREFUL AT THAT HOUSE PARTY

DON’T LET A GOOD TIME TURN INTO A NIGHTMARE

Everybody likes a good party or a fun get together, but if you are planning to host the shin-dig than there are some things you need to know and some precautions you need to take. First & foremost, check with your insurance carrier to confirm you have adequate Home Owners Insurance Coverage.  Confirm that you have substantial coverage limits and that all the characteristics of YOUR home are covered. If you have a dog, or a pool or a tenant you need to make sure that your particular coverage accounts for these things. Don’t just assume you are covered. Ask your carrier and make sure you are covered.

Next, you need to make sure your home is free of any defective conditions or potential hazards. Check for any loose railings,  missing walkway stones or broken stairs. While you may know where all the “hot spots” are in the house, a guest does not and that is inviting an accident.

Alcohol:  99% of adult parties you attend are going to be serving alcohol. There is nothing wrong with having a drink with friends. Problems arise when one drink turns into 5 or 6 and now you clearly have a intoxicated partier. Not only would you feel personally horrible if the intoxication lead to an accident, but you may also be legally liable for any resultant accident. The bottom line is that you need to be aware, and cut off anyone who is drinking to excess at your home or party.

Pool Party !!!   Everybody loves a pool party. There is probably no better way to spend the day  but if not properly monitored can also result in potential legal liability. Keep an eye out for broken glass around the pool , intoxicated swimmers, and always keep your eyes on children in the pool. It only takes a few seconds for a potential tragedy to occur.

DOGS:   Even the sweetest dogs may not respond well to a party atmosphere. It puts them in an unfamiliar atmosphere with many unfamiliar people.  So it makes sense to either keep a close eye on your beloved pooch or put him in a closed off room during the party.

The bottom line is that if you are going to be entertaining in your home, be smart, safe, & aware of what is going on around you, and if an incident does occur notify your insurance carrier immediately.

SUM Coverage

What is SUM \ Underinsured Motorist Coverage & Why You Should Have IT

Supplemental Underinsured & Uninsured Motorist Coverage (SUM Coverage) is an important part of your automobile insurance policy in that it specifically protects YOU & your family against uninsured or underinsured drivers.

When you take out standard automobile LIABILITY coverage, this coverage covers anyone who may be injured due to your negligence. It covers the injury sustained by the other party.

SUM coverage covers YOU & YOUR FAMILY. It is protection for yourself & your loved ones.

This is how it works: You purchase SUM coverage from your carrier up to the dollar amount of liability coverage you purchase. So if you purchase a $100,000 in liability coverage you can also purchase a $100,000 in SUM coverage.

UNINSURED: If you or a family member are injured in an accident where the driver of the other vehicle is UN-Insured, you can receive compensation from your SUM coverage. Under normal conditions you would collect from the other divers insurance policy. However, if the other driver is uninsured than there is no way to collect. This is where SUM comes into play. If you have $100,000 SUM coverage with your policy, you can collect up to $100,000 from your policy for any injuries you sustain due to the fault of the other (uninsured) driver.

UNDER-INSURED: The same principles apply as with Uninsured coverage’s above but here is the difference. While uninsured applies where there is NO coverage, Underinsured applies where there is coverage but the dollar amount is insufficient to compensate you for your injuries. If you are injured due to another’s fault and they carry NYS minimum coverage of $25,000, all you would be able to recover for your injuries is $25,000.  However, if you have $100,000 in SUM coverage you can now recover $25,000 from the other vehicle and an additional $75,000 from your own SUM policy (for a total of $100,000).

BE SMART & PROTECT YOURSELF !  Insurance carriers are very content to NOT sell you SUM coverage. SUM coverage means potential claims and potential payouts against them. However, if you are smart you will inquire with your carrier and purchase this very important coverage. If you are purchasing liability coverage (as you MUST !) to protect others from your potential negligence than it only makes sense to also purchase SUM coverage to protect yourself & your family.

If you have any questions concerning SUM coverage call The Law Office of Frederick Altschuler with your concerns.