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Phone: 718.701.2776
The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr.

You need to file a claim as soon as possible if you are in an accident with a New York City Sanitation truck

Your car is parked in front of your house when the New York City Sanitation Department comes to pick up the garbage. Before they get to your garbage, they sideswipe your car, causing thousand of dollars in damage. The driver of the truck gets out and apologizes, giving you his name and identification number. The police eventually arrive to fill out a police accident report, taking down all the information, including a description of the accident, the "owner" of the garbage truck and the name of the driver. In the meantime, a sanitation supervisor comes to the scene and takes his own report. He gives you a card with a phone number to call about the damage to your car. Your car is towed from the front of your house and taken to an auto body shop, where it sits on the lot waiting for an "adjuster" from the New York City Sanitation Department to approve the repairs. What you don't know is that the sanitation department doesn't have adjusters and instead are waiting for you to provide them with an estimate. You get frustrated and decide to pay for the repairs yourself as you need your car to get back and forth to work. You submit the paid repair bill to the sanitation department and follow up with phone call after phone call.

You cant understand why the bill isn't paid. After all, the car was parked in front of the house and the accident cant possibly be your fault. Four months later, the bill still isn't paid and you go to small claims court and file a summons and complaint. You appear on the scheduled night and are met by an attorney for the City of New York corporation counsel's office. The attorney tells the court that since you never filed a notice of claim, your lawsuit has to be dismissed.  You argue back that the City has known about the claim since day 1, that they are responsible for the accident and told me that they would pay for it. Unfortunately, the Judge cant do anything and dismisses your case.

You consult with an attorney who tells you that you needed to file a document called a Notice of Claim within ninety (90) days after the accident. It doesn't matter that the police came to the scene or that a sanitation supervisor told you that it was all the driver's fault and that sanitation should pay. If you don't file a notice of claim within ninety (90) days, NOT three months, after the accident, your claim will be denied. In a few specific circumstances, you can ask the court for permission to file a late notice of claim, but I would not re;y upon those exceptions. If you are hurt in an accident with a New York City Department of Sanitation vehicle, contact an attorney right away so that they can file a notice of claim timely and preserve your legal rights.