Accident Victim Denied Permission To File Late Notice Of Claim Against N.Y.C. Housing Authority

Case: Alvarez v. N.Y.C. Housing Authority

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York

Date: 7/11/12

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens injury attorney)

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Background: In order to sue a municipal entity for an accident, such as a City, Transit Authority or, as here, a Housing Authority, a "notice of claim" must be filed shortly after the accident. In many cases, the notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident. Failure to file on time means that an injured persona can't sue.

The purpose of the notice of claim requirement is to give the municipal entity early notice of the claim against it, so it can investigate the claim as soon as possible after the occurrence.

Under certain circumstances, an accident victim who misses the early notice of claim filing deadline can file a late notice of claim. This requires permission of the Court, and depends on several factors. That is what today's case and blog is about -- an accident victim seeking permission to file a late notice of claim.

Facts: The factors for judge to consider in deciding whether to grant an application for leave to serve a late notice of claim include: whether the accident victim has a good excuse for the delay, whether the delay hurt the municipal entity's ability to defend against an accident lawsuit and, most important, whether the municipal entity acquired "actual notice" of the facts and circumstances underlying the accident victim's claim within the 90-day period following the accident.

Here, the claim wasn't made until 5-1/2 months after the occurrence. And the accident victim didn't have a good excuse for her delay. Also, she couldn't show that the delay didn't prejudice the Housing Authority's ability to defend against her claim.

Held: Permission to file a late notice of claim is denied. This accident victim's case is over.

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