Suing New York State or a Municipality

Filing a Notice of Claim

Sometimes your personal injury may be caused by the negligence of the State of New York or a municipality. But suing the government is not is not the same as suing other defendants. Because there are strict notice requirements, time is of the essence. Here are some things you need to know about suing the government in New York.

  • If you are suing the State of New York (or one of the state’s authorities), your case will be heard in the New York State Court of Claims. To start the case, a claim is filed with the Clerk of the Court, and a copy must be served on the Attorney General. Generally speaking, negligence, intentional tort and wrongful death claims must be filed with the court 90 days after the accrual of the action.
  • If you are suing a “municipal corporation” in the state, the action itself is brought in the Supreme Court or County Court. However, before the personal injury lawsuit can be filed, the municipal court must be served with a notice of your claim. Just like a claim against the state, the claim must be filed within 90 days. However, rather than filing it with the court, the notice is filed with the municipal corporation itself.
  • In both instances, if you miss the 90-day filing date, you can ask the court for permission to file a late notice. However, there are certain factors that the court must consider when deciding whether to grant the motion, and permission to file the late notice is not guaranteed.

If you or a loved one believe that you have a case against New York or a Municipality regarding a personal injury, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to help ensure the timely filing of claims and that your legal rights are protected.

When Do You Have to Send a Notice of Claim?

Here are some examples of cases that require a Notice of Claim:

  • You are hit by a bus owned or operated by a municipal agency.
  • You trip and fall in a City building.
  • You are subject to a false arrest.
  • You fall on a bus or a subway or at a bus, train or subway station.
  • You suffer malpractice in a public hospital.
  • You slip and fall on ice in a City parking lot.
  • You are hit by a car owned by a town and driven by a town employee.
  • Your child is injured at a public school.

In each of these cases and ones like them, you must file a notice of claim. Every city, town, village and municipal agency in New York is entitled to a Notice of Claim. Municipalities include entities as large as the City of New York and Yonkers as well as the many small villages that dot Long Island. Some examples of municipal agencies entitled to a Notice of Claim include:

  • All public nursing homes
  • All public health clinics
  • All school districts, including the New York City Board of Education.
  • All fire departments and fire districts
  • All public transportation agencies, including the Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, New York City Transit and New York City buses.
  • All public hospitals, including hospitals operated by the City of New York.
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