Yes. The recent Appellate Court decision in Swaminathan v. State of New Jersey(2015) reminds us of the extremely strict notice requirements on the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (“TCA”).
The TCA requires that persons who have claims against public entities meaning the State, county, municipality, district, public authority or agency and any other political subdivision or public body in the State and their employees must, within 90 days of the date of the event resulting in such claims, provide the public entities and employees with notice of 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 and the amount of damages claimed. Failure to do so is an absolute bar to recovery against a public entity or its employees.
In the Swaminathan case, Plaintiff was injured on property owned by a public entity. Plaintiff’s time to file the notice of claim expired on March 17, 2014. Plaintiff hired an attorney on March 29, 2014 who filed the notice of claim 4 days later. The case was dismissed for failure to give notice within the 90 days as required by the TCA. It did not matter that the Plaintiff failed to file in time simply because he did not know that the location where he was injured was owned by a public entity.
The Courts are unsympathetic to Plaintiffs who fail to file the notice within 90 days unless extraordinary circumstances can be established to account for that failure. A strict adherence of the TCA is required and very few circumstances are considered extraordinary by the Courts. The best practice is to consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury litigation as soon as possible after sustaining an injury due to the negligent condition of property.
If you have been injured due to the negligent condition of property owned, managed, maintained and/or controlled by a public entity, the lawyers at Levinson Axelrod can help you file the necessary notice pursuant to the TCA thus preserving your claim. Simply call one of our 8 offices to schedule an appointment or chat with us online.