How Do I File a Lawsuit When I’ve Been Injured by a City Vehicle?
You might wonder how to pursue legal action against the city of New York following a motor vehicle accident. Whether your injury is minor or severe, you could file a lawsuit against the government and recover compensation. However, you must follow a specific procedure and initiate your case by a strict deadline.
Ambulances, buses, garbage trucks, and other city vehicles can cause significant destruction and injuries during collisions with passenger cars. When someone else’s negligence causes a crash, you have a right to hold them liable. But because New York is a no-fault state, you will still have to turn to your own insurance policy first for coverage of your medical expenses.
Pursuing a lawsuit against the government is different from filing an insurance claim against another driver. It’s a complicated process that could become overwhelming if you attempt to handle it alone. You should seek immediate medical care and hire an experienced car accident attorney for assistance.
Can I Sue the City of New York?
Sovereign immunity prohibits individuals from suing a government entity or its employees for injuries suffered in car crashes and other negligent-related incidents. However, the New York Court of Claims Act waives the state’s immunity from liability and action.
An accident victim has the right to sue the state based on the same rules that apply to filing a lawsuit against a private individual for negligence. Cases covered by the Act include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Defective or dangerous property conditions
- Medical malpractice
- Other negligence-based claims
If your injury resulted from a collision with a vehicle operated by a government employee, you could hold their employer liable for their negligent conduct. You would need to file a lawsuit in civil court to seek the compensation you’re entitled to.
You must prove that the municipality responsible for the crash owed you a “special duty” by presenting evidence of at least one of these circumstances:
- You were in a class the employee or municipality had a statutory duty to protect, but they violated their duty
- The municipality or employee took on positive control and direction despite a dangerous, known, or blatant safety violation
- The employee or municipality took on a duty on a volunteer basis and advised you that they’d taken on that duty to you by promises or actions that you relied on justifiably
What Vehicles Does NYC Operate?
Governmental employees operate various types of vehicles in the city. Drivers must take the necessary safety measures and follow traffic laws to avoid causing an accident.
Unfortunately, some city employees exceed the speed limit, tailgate other vehicles, and exhibit other reckless behaviors, resulting in motor vehicle crashes.
Common city vehicles operated in New York include:
- Police cars
- Buses and other public transportation vehicles
- Fire trucks
- Military vehicles
- Maintenance and garbage trucks
- Ambulances and EMS vehicles
- Delivery vehicles, such as USPS, FedEx, or UPS
The Statute of Limitations Is Tight
You’re up against a limited timeframe if you want to sue the government for the accident you were in. You must first file a notice of claim with the government entity involved within 30 days of the crash. In New York City, you have 90 days. The notice should include all necessary information, such as the date of the accident and how it occurred.
It might be possible to settle the case by pursuing compensation from the government agency’s liability insurance company. However, if they deny your claim or offer a low settlement, you could proceed with a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years. If you’re suing the government, you must adhere to a stricter deadline.
If you want to file a lawsuit against the city of New York, you must do so within one year and 90 days from the date the accident happened. The court will likely dismiss your case if you try to file once the statute passes.
How We Could Help
If you were injured in an accident involving a city vehicle, do not hesitate to contact The Mandel Law Firm. We can review the circumstances of the crash and determine whether you have a case to pursue. Our New York car accident lawyers will fight hard to hold the negligent government entity liable and seek the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at (646) 770-3868 for a free consultation with one of our experienced NYC lawyers.