New York City, aka Gotham, aka the Big Apple, aka the City that Never Sleeps. Boasting a population topping 8.5 million as of July 2015, its teeming streets are the stuff of legend. But aside from its sheer size and reputation, New York City is really no different from any other U.S. metropolis. It’s got a mayor, a city council, borough presidents and community boards.
Like its municipal counterparts across the country, New York City also has a law department. Due to its size, however, New York’s law department is massive, with 16 legal divisions in all. Employing more than 200 attorneys alone, the Tort Division is the largest. That’s because this division is responsible for representing the City and its Department of Education in all tort cases.
These are the agencies responsible for representing the City when someone who has been injured decides to sue. And people do sue New York City. In fact, the Tort Division handles more than 7,000 new suits annually, with more than 18,000 pending matters.
This is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney on your side.
WHEN TO SUE
In general, you can sue New York City if you were injured on city property. You can also sue if a city employee’s, agent’s or officer’s conduct or carelessness caused or contributed to your injury. You may be able to sue if you were injured by a New York City police officer using excessive force. There are many other types of lawsuits that can be brought against the City of New York, such as a:
- Slip and fall or trip and fall accident on city property.
- Traffic accident with a city vehicle (such as a police car, fire truck or garbage truck).
- Traffic accident caused by improper construction or maintenance of a city street or roadway or improper traffic signs and control.
- Any other injury that can be linked to the carelessness or conduct of someone who works for, is acting on behalf of or in an official capacity of the city.
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INITIATING LEGAL ACTION
To take legal action against New York City, you must first advise it of your intention to do so by completing a Notice of Claim. This must be done within 90 days of the accident/incident in which you were injured and should include:
- Your name and address and your attorney’s name and address
- Information about the type of claim you are filing
- Details about the accident/incident in which you were injured
- How much compensation you are seeking
Once the Notice is completed, you or your attorney must “serve it” on the governmental department authorized to receive the Notice of Claim. This is a legal term for ensuring that the appropriate government department or authorized person within that department gets it, either by personal delivery or registered or certified mail.
Within this context, it is important to note that failing to meet the 90-day deadline, or include all of the required information, may result in your case being dismissed. A dismissal of the case will prevent you from pursuing your claim.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Once it gets this notice, the City has a right to investigate your claim. The City may ask you to appear for a hearing to give testimony under oath to support your claim. This is known as a 50H Hearing. It will seek evidence to verify or refute your version of events and assertions about how badly you were hurt.
At a 50H Hearing, you will give testimony under oath and must answer questions truthfully, and all questions and answers are documented for the record. Your attorney should thoroughly prepare you for the hearing beforehand and should be with you during the hearing to ensure that all questions asked are fair and appropriate.
As part of its investigation, the City may require that you have a medical exam performed by a doctor designated by the City.
In any case, you can’t file a lawsuit against the City until the 50H Hearing is conducted or 90 days from the time that the Notice of Claim was filed in the event that a hearing is not requested.
You must be aware that there are other City entities that require that a Notice of Claim be served on that entity. For instance, claims against New York City hospitals and clinics must be filed on the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Claims involving City housing units must be served on the New York City Housing Authority. The Notice of Claim to be valid must be served on the correct City entity.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
In addition to these deadlines there is also a deadline for bringing the actual lawsuit against the City. This is called the Statute of Limitations. Usually, the lawsuit must be started within one year and 90 days after the accident or incident that caused your injury. One exception to this is if the suit is for wrongful death. In those cases, there is a two-year deadline and the case can only be brought by the representative of the decedent’s estate.
If you were injured in New York City, the attorneys at Dansker & Aspromonte have the knowledge and skill needed to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a 100 percent free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.