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:
-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.