Filing a Notice of Claim against a City, Town or Municipal Agency in New York


Many of my clients have been injured by through the negligence of municipalities or municipal agencies. As a result, I often receive questions like these: 

  • My son was hurt at school. What is the time limit in New York to file a claim for an injury at school?
  • I got hurt on a City bus, how soon do I have to file a claim?
  • A town truck hit me, how much time do I have to sue?
  • I slipped and fell in a City building last year; do I still have time to bring a lawsuit?
  • I think my doctor committed malpractice at a City Hospital, can I bring a lawsuit?

Before you can bring a lawsuit against a town, city or public agency in New York, you must first file a Notice of Claim. Under New York Law, you must file the Notice of Claim within 90 days of the incident. This article discusses the Notice of Claim in New York.

The Notice of Claim gives the municipality or municipal agency 30 days to request a pre-suit hearing (a 50-h hearing) or a pre-suit medical exam. If the municipality or municipal agency requests a pre-suit hearing or medical exam, you cannot file a lawsuit until after the completion of the hearing or medical exam.

The Notice of Claim deadline is in addition to the Statute of Limitations deadlines that exist. All motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, wrongful death and personal injury cases in New York must be filed within a certain amount of time. That deadline is called the Statute of Limitations (click here to learn more about the Statute of Limitations).

Filing a Notice of Claim in New York: A 90 Day Deadline

New York law gives municipalities and municipal agencies the right to receive a written notice of an incident and the intent to pursue a claim within 90 days of the incident.  This written document is known as the Notice of Claim since you are giving the municipality or the municipal agency a notice that you have a claim.

If you fail to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days, then you lose the right to file a lawsuit.

What are Examples of Who Is Entitled to Receive a Notice of Claim in New York?

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 school districts, including the New York City Board of Education.

  • 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.
  • All public nursing homes.
  • All public health clinics.
  • All fire departments and fire districts.

What Type of Cases Require Filing a Notice of Claim in New York?

All cases where the defendant would involve a municipality or a municipal agency requires filing a Notice of Claim. Here are some examples:

A car accident where the driver who hit you drove a City-owned, town-owned or public agency vehicle or was on the job working for a City or Town or public agency.  

  • A slip and fall at a municipal building, such as the lobby of a town hall. 
  • A medical malpractice case where the malpractice occurred at a City or public hospital. 
  • A trip and fall at a subway or train station. 
  • A motor vehicle accident involving a public bus or public vehicle (e.g. a fire truck or garbage truck). 
  • An accident in the subway or on a train. 
  • A trip and fall on public property.

Where Do I need to File a Notice of Claim?

Each municipality and municipal agency designates who must receive the Notice of Claim. For example, all Notices of Clams in New York City must be served upon the City Comptroller’s Office. Many municipalities designate the Town Attorney or the Town Clerk as the person who must receive the Notice of Claim. When in doubt, you should contact the municipality or municipal agency and ask.

It is very important to file the Notice of Claim with the appropriate party. Failure to do so will invalidate the filing and could cause you to miss the 90-day deadline.

What Must I Put into the Notice of Claim?

Section 50-e of the General Municipal Law specifies that the Notice of Claim must include the date, time and exact location of the incident. For example, I filed a recent notice with the Port Authority for a client who fell on a stairway. I made sure to specify the exact stairway where she fell. You should also include a brief description of the incident. Your description needs to provide enough information so that the incident can be investigated.

The Notice of Claim must be notarized before submitting it.

I always send the Notice of Claim via certified mail so I have a record that it was delivered on time.

Conclusion on Filing a Notice of Claim

If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence or recklessness of a city, town, village or municipal agency in New York and you want to pursue compensation for damages, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of your accident.

This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney.


Source by Carol L. Schlitt