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Were You Hurt By a Government Entity? Our Attorneys Can Help

You should turn to an experienced New York City municipal liability attorney. Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., has helped countless clients recover hundreds of millions in settlements through successful lawsuits over the years, like this settlement for $1.8 million by Attorney Jordan Hecht.

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Understanding NYC Municipal Liability Claims

As an entity, the city is obligated to keep its premises, employee, and property in safe working order. If you are hurt because of someone’s negligent behavior or reckless actions, you could have a personal injury claim.

Like other personal injury cases, you can sue the city if you were hurt by a city employee, contractor, or because someone from the government failed to take proper care and you were hurt as a result. For instance, if you were hit because a garbage truck driver was speeding, the city can be held responsible for the damages the crash caused.

What are the Differences in an Injury Case Against a Private Party vs a Public Entity?

Video Transcript

If an accident occurs on public property, the case proceeds normally, as it would as if it were a private owner. The only ... difference is that there are different deadlines that you have to be careful about. In the case of a municipality, you need to file a notice of claim within 90 days of the accident, and the statute of limitations is shorter than a private defendant.


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Does Sovereign Immunity Apply?

There are limits to what suits can be filed, so working with a New York City personal injury lawyer is critical. “Sovereign immunity” states that some government agencies are immune from lawsuits for personal injury claims caused by conditions on their property or actions by their representatives.

New York has waived sovereign immunity if victims follow strict guidelines for recovering compensation from the responsible agency. That means if you follow these guidelines, you should be able to sue the city agency responsible.

Compensation Available in Municipal Liability Cases

A lawsuit against the city will allow you to recover damages caused by their employee’s negligence or their property’s hazardous conditions. Like other personal injury suits, you can make a claim to recover economic and non-economic damages.

Your economic damages are tangible losses, the items you pay for out of your own pocket. That includes any current or future medical bills, lost wages, or damaged property.

Your non-economic losses are harder to calculate but are still valid to pursue. These losses are the ones incurred because you were hurt. They are conceptual damages you’ve experienced as a result of your injuries. These include things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of companionship.

What If I’m a City Employee Hurt on the Job?

If you were working for New York City when you were injured in an accident, you might have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover damages. All employees of the City of New York are protected under workers’ compensation laws.

However, some employees, such as police, firefighters, teachers, and uniform sanitation, have separate systems.

A serious injury on the job can result in excessive medical bills and lost wages, among other damages. Find out how much your claim is worth by calling an NYC workers’ comp lawyer.

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Filing Municipal Liability Claims Against New York City

Recovering damages for an accident caused by the city or one of its employees is possible, but you must follow certain guidelines for the best chance to recover compensation.

First, you are required to file a notice of claim within 90 days of the accident. Once you notify the city, you will receive a claim number.

Then, you must wait 30 days for the city to review your claim. The city may offer you a settlement. However, most initial settlement offers are extremely low and do not consider all your damages. It’s important to work with a government liability lawyer to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

After the waiting period, you may file a lawsuit against the city in court. However, the lawsuit must be started within one year and 90 days from the loss or accident.

If you fail to meet these deadlines or do not include the full details of your claim, you may forfeit your right to compensation.

infographic about how to file a municipal liability claim

When Can I File a Claim Against New York City?

Just like a private individual can be responsible for their actions or inaction, the City of New York can be held accountable as well. Here are some common situations in which New York City may be held liable.

  • Garbage Truck Accidents – If a motor vehicle accident involves a garbage truck working for New York City, the city may be responsible for damages the garbage truck driver caused.
  • City Work Vehicle Accidents – The City has thousands of utility vehicles that work under its oversight. If the driver of one of these vehicles causes an accident, the city may be responsible for your damages.
  • Subway & Mass Transit Accidents – If you are injured in the subway or while riding on mass transit in New York City, you are entitled to compensation from the city. That can include wrecks and premises liability accidents like slips, trips, and falls.
  • City Agency Negligence – City agencies like the New York City Police, Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Technicians may fail to uphold the duties of their jobs. In that case, the city can be held accountable for the damages they cause.
  • Injuries on Government Property – If you are hurt in a government building, at a park, or other property owned by the City of New York, you may be able to get compensation for your damages as a result.
  • City Contractor Negligence – Sometimes, the city hires a private company to work for them; however, New York City is still responsible for their actions. You may have a claim against more than one party if a city contractor causes you harm.

These claims are based on negligence laws, car accident laws, premises liability, and other New York statutes. It’s important to work with a municipal liability attorney to help you understand which laws apply.

At HKD, we are proud to have helped many clients receive significant and life-changing personal injury settlements and court rulings.

Municipal Liability FAQs

Can I Still Recover Compensation if I’m Partly At Fault?

Yes. New York follows the “pure comparative negligence” rule. That means as long as you aren’t more than 50% or more responsible for your injuries, you can still recover some of your damages. The court will determine how much you contributed to your injuries, and any settlement you win will be reduced by that percentage. If you were texting when a garbage truck crashed into you, you could be considered partially responsible for any injuries you receive. If you won a $1 million settlement but you were 25% responsible, you’d receive $750,000.

What Goes On My Notice of Claim?

Your notice of claim is the document that alerts the city that you expect compensation for the injury their negligence caused. It will have your name, home address, contact information, your attorney’s name, a description of your accident, your injuries, and list all the damages you are seeking compensation for.

Will the City Automatically Accept My Claim?

The city may not agree to your claim. It reserves the right to review your claim and even question you about the incident in a hearing known as a 50-H. If your claim is denied or it’s been more than 30 days after your claim was filed, you may file a lawsuit against the city. You have one year and 90 days after the accident to do so.

A Municipal Liability Attorney Can Help You

If you were hurt and the city is at fault somehow, you should immediately contact an NYC municipal liability lawyer with HKD. You have very little time to begin a claim. Our attorneys will listen and determine what you can expect. Then, we will make sure you get the most compensation possible.

Call Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek P.C. at 212-490-5700 or use our contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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