Car Crash Claims with City Vehicles in New York City

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

The New York City Comptroller’s Office recently released a report which indicated that serious accidents involving city-owned vehicles are on the rise. The average personal injury victim involved in these cases could claim roughly $242,365 per accident. Claims worth $1 million or more account for 4% of city vehicle accidents.

They say you “can’t fight city hall,” but the truth is the law does leave avenues open for New Yorkers to pursue personal injury claims against NYC fleet vehicles.

If you’ve ever believed it was impossible to sue the city after getting into an accident with a garbage truck, street sweeper, or another city-owned vehicle, think again. NYC can and does pay. You just have to move quickly enough and take the right steps to protect your lawsuit.

What to Do Directly After a City Vehicle Car Crash

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You’ll take the same steps after a city vehicle car crash that you’d take after any other accident. You’ll need to call 911 to seek medical attention and alert authorities who are not involved in the accident that the crash has occurred. You’ll collect the driver’s information and the names and numbers of any witnesses. You’ll take photographs.

You’ll only have a short time to alert your insurance company so you can take advantage of no-fault benefits. If you’re awake and alert on the day of the accident, it’s a good idea to call them within the first 24 hours.

Seek an attorney’s help within the same timeframe. Working with an attorney right away can significantly affect how your case plays out.

City Car Crash Deadlines

If you’ve been in an accident with a garbage truck, police car, or city bus, you must move quickly. As with any accident or injury case where you’ll be suing the city, you’ll need to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident.

Hire an injury lawyer as soon as you’re medically capable of doing so. Missing the deadline isn’t the only danger—filing the paperwork incorrectly can be just as detrimental to your claim as failing to file it at all.

There are other reasons why you’ll want to move quickly. You’ll need help gathering as much evidence as possible as quickly as possible. If you’ve been in an accident with a police officer, for example, you can’t expect that NYPD’s accident report will help you out to the same degree that it might have had you been in an accident with any other person. The “Blue Wall” can apply to car accident cases, too.

You’ll need an attorney to find video evidence, hire accident reconstructionists and witnesses, find other expert witnesses who can help you, and otherwise investigate.

Proving that a city employee was negligent isn’t always easy. You’ll need the strongest case we can put together on your behalf. If you wait, evidence can easily disappear. Witnesses can go stale, losing their memory of the events in question. If you can hire an attorney you trust on the day of the accident, you should do so.

Is a cop still at-fault for the accident if they were responding to an emergency?

There are specific circumstances under which an emergency vehicle, like a police car, may break traffic laws so long as they are not acting recklessly. To prove that they’re immune from liability, they must prove the following:

  • They were responding to a call (any legitimate call qualifies, even if it was a non-emergency call)
  • They were engaging in driving behaviors specifically exempted under NY Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1104
  • They were using their emergency lights and sirens
  • They were not acting with “reckless disregard for the safety of others.”

We will work to attack any NYPD claim that they should be exempt from car accident liability claims after an accident. Often, the best way to do this is to prove that their behavior was reckless, even if it was otherwise protected under the law.

Schedule a Case Review

So long as you haven’t passed your 90-day period for filing a Notice of Claim, you should not discount your case just because you were involved in an accident with a city-owned vehicle, even a police vehicle. Skilled injury attorneys can and do win city vehicle crash cases.

Schedule a free case review so we can review your case’s facts and determine whether yours is strong enough to pursue. If so, we’ll help you file all of the appropriate paperwork to pursue your claim.

Contact our office to get started today.

See also:

Who Gets Sued in a Multi-Car Pileup in New York?

Bus & Subway Accidents in New York City

New York School Bus Accidents: What Are My Legal Rights?

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