When you suffer an injury in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner and driver of the other vehicle. You probably heard or read enough about motor vehicle accidents by now to know that you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, but if the truck is from an NYC park, a delay on your part could be detrimental to your claim for compensation.
Different rules and procedures designed to protect the government apply to claims against NYC and other municipal agencies. For instance, unless your attorney notifies the government of the accident and your claim for damages within a very short period, you may lose your right to recover compensation, including damages for the pain and suffering you endured.
Who to file a claim against when injured by a truck from an NYC park?
When injured in a truck accident, you have the right to claim damages against any party whose negligence caused the crash. Normally, that would be another driver who may have been speeding, texting on a cell phone, or engaging in other types of negligent behavior.
The auto accident lawyer you retain to represent you would notify the other driver and the owner of the vehicle of the crash and your claim for damages. This usually leads to negotiations between your lawyer and an adjuster for the company that insured the other vehicle. If a favorable settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer would sue the other parties in court for damages.
If the truck that caused your injuries was from an NYC park, you would still have a claim against the driver and owner of the vehicle. However, the presence of a government agency as a party changes the process involved in pursuing the claim for damages.
Claims Against the Government
When you are injured in a truck accident with a vehicle from an NYC park, the first thing an auto accident lawyer representing you must do is identify the vehicle’s owner. If it was owned by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, a notice of claim must be filed with the agency within 90 days of the date of the accident.
What makes identifying the owner of the truck so crucial to your right to be compensated is that governments are treated differently when it comes to truck accidents and other types of personal injury claims. Normally, you would have three years to file a lawsuit against a negligent party in New York State. However, when an agency of a state or local government may be a party, the law requires the filing of a notice of claim.
An understanding of the reason that personal injury claims against federal, state, or local governments are handled differently needs a bit of historical perspective. Before the Revolutionary War, lawsuits against the government were prohibited without first obtaining permission from the king of England. A form of this doctrine of sovereign immunity was added to the U.S. Constitution as the Eleventh Amendment to protect the federal government against lawsuits by its citizens.
The U.S. Supreme Court extended the granting of immunity to the states. Over time, Congress and state legislatures adopted laws waiving the immunity for personal injury claims with the condition that a lawsuit must be preceded by a notice of the claim and time for the government to investigate it.
The possibility of NYC being a party responsible for paying damages gives your lawyer only 90 days to prepare and file the notice of claim. The law requiring advance notice also changes the time that you must file a lawsuit.
The purpose of the notice of claim is to allow the government to investigate the claim and the circumstances under which it arose before it must defend a lawsuit. The law in New York accomplishes this by giving the city 30 days to investigate before your lawyer may go to court and file a lawsuit against it.
If the notice of claim is filed within 90 days, your right to sue is protected. Once the 30-day waiting period has elapsed, your lawyer has up to one year and 90 days from the date of the truck accident to file a lawsuit against the city agency.
Getting advice about your truck accident claim
The city may decide that your compensation claim is valid and make an offer to settle it during the 30-day investigation period. A personal injury attorney can evaluate an offer and help you decide whether to accept it. If you reject it, you still retain the right to pursue the claim through a lawsuit filed by your lawyer against the driver and parks department for damages arising from the truck accident.