Municipal Liability Lawyer

Sometimes, it is not an individual person who causes a personal injury accident but rather an entity. An “entity” can include a company, governmental body, or municipality. Municipal liability in New York City is a complex subject of law, but an important one for people who obtained injuries while on city-owned property, or from the actions of city employees. For any lawsuit against a municipality, we recommend partnering with our skilled local law firm. Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, P.C. has the resources and experience to lend a helping hand in these claims.

When Might You Have a Claim Against a Municipality?

The municipal government of NYC is in charge of more elements throughout the city than you might imagine. Streets, sidewalks, public parks, recreational buildings, trees, shrubs, traffic control signals, streetlights, utility service facilities, and government-owned vehicles are all within municipal control. If a municipal corporation causes harm or a violation of rights concerning any of these areas, the victim may have the right to sue.

In most states, municipal liability is not the same as typical liability for personal injuries. There are laws in place that protect government entities and employees. The New York Court of Claims Act provides the stipulations for when, why, and how an injured party may sue the NY government. The rules are relatively lax compared to other states. Article II, Section 8 of the Act waives the government’s immunity from liability and legal actions and automatically gives municipal consent for someone to sue in court.

In New York, the Court of Claims Act allows injured parties to sue the State of New York for negligence like they would a private party. This is different from many states that obey sovereign immunity laws – those that protect the government from liability except in very specific situations. This is good news for injured parties in New York. They can sue the state in almost any situation, including car accidents, medical malpractice, public building defects, property hazards, and other accidents that negligence causes.

Retain an Attorney for Municipal Liability Claims

In spite of rules that allow an individual to sue the government in New York, bringing these claims still requires a good deal of work. The injured person must prove the city owed the injured person a “special duty.” This requires showing that the defendant either:

  1. Disobeyed a statutory duty in place for a protected class (with the plaintiff part of that class).
  2. Assumed positive direction and control during a blatant and dangerous safety violation.
  3. Willingly took on a duty via certain actions or promises to the injured person.

The injured party must properly serve the City of New York within 90 days of the date of the accident’s occurrence for personal injury or property damage claims. This involves a delivery of notice of claim to the New York City Comptroller’s Office, either electronically, by mail, or in person. A person has six months for breach of contract claims and three years for state appropriation of land claims. Failing to meet the deadline for a municipality claim could lead to the courts refusing to hear your case. Contact our team for help with municipal liability claims in NYC.