Fortunately for New Yorkers, lawsuits are permitted against the City of New York when the City is responsible for causing harm. Whether you fall on a defective City sidewalk or cross-walk, are struck by a City owned/operated vehicle or are the victim of police brutality, legal recourse is available for individuals injured as a result of the City’s negligence. Unfortunately, several special laws apply to cases against the City of New York (and related City municipalities/agencies) that make it very difficult (and sometimes impossible) for those injured by the City’s negligence to obtain justice.
First and foremost, anyone who intends to bring a claim against the City of New York (and related City municipalities/agencies) must file what is known as a “Notice of Claim” within 90 days following the incident pursuant to General Municipal Law Section 50-e. If you have a claim against the City and fail to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident, you will be precluded from ever bringing a lawsuit against City (with only limited exceptions).
Second, when a Notice of Claim is filed against the City of New York, the City is entitled to a “50-h Hearing”, which is an opportunity for the City’s lawyer to question the injured party about the accident and his/her injuries before a lawsuit is ever commenced (the City will then get a second bite at the apple when they conduct their deposition of the injured person). While the City is fairly accommodating regarding adjournments of 50-h hearings, compliance with the City’s request for a 50-h hearing is generally a condition precedent to filing a lawsuit.
Third, a shorter statute of limitations applies to cases against the City of New York. Instead of the traditional three-year statute of limitations for general negligence claims, a case must be commenced against the City within one year and ninety days from date of injury.
Fourth, under certain circumstances, the injured part must prove that the City had “prior written notice” of the particular defect that caused the injury. Specifically, pursuant to New York City Administrative Code Section 7-201(c)(2), an injured party must prove prior written notice for any accident involving defective conditions to a street, highway, bridge, wharf, culvert, sidewalk or crosswalk that are the responsibility of the City to maintain/repairs (with only limited exceptions).
As you can see from the “special rules” above concerning cases against the City of New York, a strong understanding of the governing law is critical when bringing a lawsuit against the City. As such, if you are injured due to the City’s negligence, it is imperative to ensure your attorney has experience handling such cases. Our lawyers have experience in cases against the City and we are prepared to fight for your rights any time the City may be liable.
If you, a loved one or a member of your community has been injured due to the City’s negligence, please do not hesitate to callFARELLA MASCOLO PLLC at 212-287-1277 for a free consultation.
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