A Late Notice of Claim Does Not Have To Be a Death Knell

In New York, special notice-of-claim requirements apply to personal injury claims against government entities or operators. In most cases it is vital to ensure that the appropriate entity receives a proper notice of the claim on time. However, giving a late notice of claim is not always fatal to a case.

Notice-of-Claim Requirements

If an injured person sues an officer or employee of a public corporation or other government organization, New York law requires that notice of the person’s claim be given to the proper government entity in a notice of claim.

This notice-of-claim rule applies to personal injury lawsuits against public hospitals, transportation systems and schools as well as government-owned utilities and other operators providing public services. Therefore, people who are hit by city buses, suffer from malpractice at county hospitals or slip and fall in municipal buildings must provide a proper notice of claim if they sue the government operator or entity for damages. Some examples of entities requiring a notice of claim include:

  • The City of New York
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MABSTOA)
  • Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority (SIRTOA)
  • New York City Housing Authority
  • New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

The notice of claim must be in writing and notarized. It should provide the date, time and precise location of incident as well as a brief description of the event and the injuries that resulted. Importantly, the notice of claim must be delivered to the involved government entity within 90 days of the incident.

Late Notice of Claim

In general, a court will not allow an injured person’s personal injury claim to go forward if the defendant-government operator or entity did not receive a proper and timely notice of claim. However, a court may allow a late notice of claim if it finds the tardiness reasonable.

New York courts consider many factors when deciding whether a late notice of claim is allowable. These factors include:

  • The defendant’s actual knowledge of the claim within the first 90 days, considering available police reports or internal investigations of the event
  • Whether the injured person is a minor or mentally or physically incapacitated
  • Whether the injured person’s notice is late due to action of the defendant such as settlement discussions
  • Whether the injured person made an excusable error in identifying the appropriate government entity
  • Whether the delay would substantially prejudice, or harm the defendant’s case

If a court finds an injured person’s tardiness is excusable, it may allow the injured person to file a late notice of claim and proceed with his or her case.

If you have been injured in an incident involving government operators or entities, contact a personal injury lawyer who has experience advocating for acceptance of his or her client’s late notice of claim. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand what options you have when the notice of claim deadline has passed or is quickly approaching.