Can I Sue New York City for Negligence?

new york city train/subway station entrance

If you were injured in an accident that someone else caused, you have a legal right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. For instance, if you are hurt after slipping and falling on a slippery surface that a grocery store failed to clean up, you could hold the grocery store accountable for its negligence through a personal injury suit.

But what if you are injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of a government entity like the City of New York? Is it possible to sue the city for the carelessness that caused you to be injured?

Bringing an Injury Claim Against the City of New York

In many cases, if you were injured due to negligence on the part of New York City or one of its employees, you can bring a lawsuit against the city. Government bodies are shielded from lawsuits by the concept of “sovereign immunity.” However, the state of New York and New York City will waive these rights on certain conditions, opening them up to lawsuits.

However, suing a government entity like New York City is completely different from suing an individual or even a corporation. You have significantly less time to file a claim against the city than you would if you were suing a private party, and you must fulfill a variety of special requirements. That’s why it is crucial to hire an experienced New York personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the complex claims process.

Common Types of Injury Claims Filed Against New York City

In general, any type of negligence claim that can be brought against a person can also be brought against the city. Some of the most common types of negligence claims involving the city include:

  • Car accidents – While auto accidents are commonly caused by drivers, truck drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, sometimes government entities like the city are responsible for auto accidents. For instance, if the Department of Transportation (DOT) failed to fill in a large pothole and that pothole contributed to an accident, they could be on the hook for the victims’ losses. Likewise, if the driver of a government vehicle, such as a city sanitation vehicle or a city bus, causes an accident, the city could be liable for the harm its employee caused.
  • Premises liability incidents – Property owners have a duty to protect lawful visitors by eliminating hazardous conditions that could cause someone to suffer injuries. For example, if a local business fails to repair a defective walkway causing a customer to trip on it and be injured, that business would be responsible for the customer’s medical expenses and other losses. This same principle applies to government property and public buildings such as the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), courthouses, and subway stations. If someone is injured because of a dangerous condition on a city- or state-owned property, the respective government could be held financially responsible for the consequences.
  • Civil rights violations – When police officers hurt ordinary people by using excessive force, the city could be held liable for the harm they cause. The city can be held liable for the misconduct or negligence of its law enforcement officers and other city employees. In one recent year, the city paid out $176.9 million in verdicts and settlements for police-related civil rights violations.

The city could also be held responsible if you were harmed due to an ambulance delay or if you were assaulted in a public place such as a city park. You (or your attorney) will need to demonstrate that the city owed you a duty of care (to protect your health and safety) and that they breached that duty in some way. You must demonstrate how the city’s breach of duty directly led to your injuries and show that you suffered compensable losses because of the accident.

If you were injured as a result of negligence on the part of the city or one of its employees, you should consult with a New York City personal injury attorney right away to discuss your situation and legal options. There is only a limited amount of time to file a complaint, so it is crucial to get started on your claim immediately.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against New York City After an Accident?

While plaintiffs pursuing personal injury lawsuits against private-citizen defendants have three years to take legal action, plaintiffs suing government entities like New York City must act quickly. If you plan to sue the city, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident. You must then wait 30 days as the city investigates your claim and potentially offers you a settlement. Once the 30-day waiting period is over, you can take legal action. You will have one year and 90 days to file a lawsuit against the City. Note that this is one year and 90 days from the date you suffered your injury, not the date you filed your Notice of Claim.

Contact a New York Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Were you hurt in an accident that the City of New York or one of its employees caused through negligence or misconduct? If so, contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today to speak with one of our New York City injury attorneys. We have extensive experience helping clients recover compensation from government entities, and we aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the city or its legal team.

We understand that suing the city can be a confusing and complicated process, and you shouldn’t have to stress over your claim while you are trying to recover from your injuries. Let us handle your claim for you while you concentrate on your health and well-being. We will help you understand all the special requirements and time limits associated with suing a government entity in New York, and present a robust case on your behalf. Call us at 855-TOP-FIRM to schedule your free case evaluation.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.