New York Injury News

Suing City Hall — We have all heard the expression that “you can’t fight City Hall”. When it comes to certain things, this is true. For example, you can’t sue City Hall just because you disagree with the frequency of garbage pick-up or are opposed to parking regulations. This is because, generally, governmental agencies are protected by what is called “sovereign immunity“, an old doctrine from our common law that prevents government decisions from being challenged in Court. Like all rules, however, there are exceptions.
You can sue the City of New York if you trip over a pothole in the road or a broken curb that should have been fixed. In some instances, you can even sue because a faulty highway design causes an accident. You can also sue the City for medical malpractice committed at a City hospital and for excessive use of force by City police officers. There are other claims that can be made as well.

However, what you should know is that in most of those situations where you can sue the City (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be just the City – it can be the State or any governmental entity like the New York City Transit Authority) you must first file what is known as a “Notice of Claim” with the government entity at issue. Typically, the Notice of Claim must be filed with 90 days. After filing the Notice of Claim, there is a short period of time in which you are allowed to sue, by filing a lawsuit. If you don’t file a Notice of Claim on time, in some limited circumstances a Court may allow you to file a late Notice of Claim – but you cannot always count on getting this permission. There are many court decisions not allowing people to do that.

There are many aspects, challenges and obstacles in suing a governmental entity. For example, if you want to sue the City for an accident – caused by a defective sidewalk- you must first prove that the City had prior written notice of the defect. Sometimes you can get around this requirement, which can be difficult to prove, if the sidewalk abutted a commercial establishment.

So my point is this: if you have injured yourself because of the fault of a governmental body, be sure to consult a lawyer who will help you navigate through the steps and procedures required to sue City Hall.

Contributor: New York Personal Injury Lawyer / Attorney Vito A. Cannavo – Partner, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo PC.  Mr. Cannavo brings his corporate and municipal litigation experience to perfectly complement the trial skills he has developed in all areas of the Firm’s practice.

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