What Are the Steps When You Sue a Municipality?


Much like private companies, the city and government are responsible for any injuries or damage that occurs on their property. If you sustained an injury because of faulty steps or the city’s lack of attention to unstable structures, you may be able to bring a claim against the municipality. However, it is important to note that cases against the government or city tend to be more complicated with shorter statutes of limitations. If you or your loved one sustained injury because of the city, you need to act quickly.

What are the Statutes of Limitations?

Statutes of limitations refer to a set period of time that an individual is allowed to report an injury or file a lawsuit. In cases involving the city or government, the statute of limitations are shorter and require immediate attention.

New York offers the following guidelines:

  • Claims against the city – 90 days to file a formal claim and one year to submit a lawsuit. (N.Y. Gen. Mun. Laws § 50-e.)
  • Claims against the state – 90 days to file claim or notice of intent to file claim. (N.Y. Court of Claims Act § 10.)
  • Claims against the county – 90 days to file a claim and one year to submit lawsuit. (N.Y. County Law § 52.)

If a person fails to address their claim or file a lawsuit in the allotted time, they may lose the right to seek compensation.

Notice Requirements

Before you can file a lawsuit against a city or government, you must provide a “Notice of Claim.” You need to take care to meet all the requirements or your suit maybe dismissed by the court. The “notice of claim” informs the government and the parties involved of your intent to sue.

General information the notice must include is:

  • Contact information and name of everyone involved in the accident
  • Details on what happened, including when and where
  • Description of the injury or damage
  • Amount being sought for damages

After sending in a “notice of claim,” you will have to wait roughly between 30 and 120 days, depending on your municipality. After receiving the claim, the city may choose to dismiss the case. That is when the injured party has a right to file a lawsuit.

To effectively sue the city, the defendant will need proof to establish that the city was in fact responsible for their care. An experienced personal injury attorney can help investigate the case and present the details in a manner that highlights their client’s needs.

At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we understand how debilitating a personal injury can be. That is why we work hard on behalf of our clients. We are not afraid to take on the city or government. They should be held accountable for any wrongdoing or negligence on their part. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

For over 40 years, David H. Perecman has distinguished himself as one of the leading personal injury lawyers in New York City, championing all types of personal injury cases including construction accidents, premises accidents, automobile accidents, and medical malpractice, along with employment discrimination, false arrest, and civil rights cases.