Claim Against a Public Entity

Claim Against a Public Entity

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Generally, sovereign immunity in New Jersey prevents citizens from suing public entities or their employees for negligence.  A public entity refers to the State, county, municipality, district, public authority, public agency, and any other political subdivision or public body of the state of New Jersey.  Thus, public entities and government employees who are acting within the scope of their employment are generally immune from lawsuits. As long as a public employee was using good faith judgment in making a governmental decision, generally individuals cannot sue an employee for ordinary negligence while on the job. However, there are exceptions to the general rule that individuals cannot sue the government or its employees. For example, damaged parties may, under limited circumstances, sue for personal injuries caused as a result of public entity or public employee’s negligence. In order to bring a lawsuit against a public entity or employee, the injured party must comply with statutory notice requirements.  Notice must be served on the public entity, putting the public entity on notice of the claim.

Ocean & Monmouth County Claim Against Public Entity

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How Long Do I Have To File A Claim Against A Public Entity?

In New Jersey, the time limit for filing a notice of claim against state or local government is 90 days from the date of the accident. A notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident or the damaged party loses their right to bring a lawsuit. The damaged party must provide the public entity and its employees with notice of the claim, the name and address of the claimant, date, place and circumstances of the occurrence or transaction giving rise to the claim asserted, a general description of the injury, damage or loss incurred, the name of the public entities or employees causing the injury, damage or loss and the amount of damages claimed. See N.J.S.A. § 59:8-3 through 8.  Failure to satisfy the notice requirement of the Tort Claim Act is an absolute bar to recovery against a public entity or its employees. Id.  After notice of claim is served, the public entity is allowed a six month period to review the claim before a lawsuit can be filed.  Upon expiration of the 6 months period, a lawsuit may be initiated.  Generally, the notice requirement applies to common law tort claims. The notice provision of the Tort Claims Act does not apply to statutory claims, such as those brought under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act and New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination. Brennan v. Norton, 350 F.3d 399 (3d Cir. 2003)

In the event that you have been injured by the acts or omissions of a public entity or public employee, time is of the essence. Due to the complex legal issues with regard to suing a public entity, those injured by the acts or omissions of a public entity or public employee should seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.

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