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NYC Pays Out $30,000 Following Car Crash Involving First Lady McCray

Judge and gavel in a courtroom.

How are lawsuits against municipalities different from a traditional personal injury claim?

A settlement was recently reached stemming from the 2015 car crash involving Mayo de Blasio’s security detail.  On August 12, 2015, an SUV driven by a NYPD Detective, carrying First Lady Chirlane McCray, was involved in a four vehicle pileup.  The accident is thought to have occurred when a vehicle driven by Bianca Berkemeyer swerved into the NYPD SUV. As the detective attempted to regain control, he collided with a 2005 Nissan driven by Cecilio Mendez. Berkemeyer then hit another vehicle.

Cecilio Mendez sued both the city and Berkemeyer.  Mendez claimed in his lawsuit against the city that he required shoulder surgery after the accident and continues to suffer from both back and neck pain.  The attorney representing Mendez alleged some inconsistencies with the accident report that he suggested indicate a cover-up.  Ultimately, the city reached a $30,000 settlement to end the matter and Mendez receives $5,000 from the other driver.  

This accident occurred the same month as another crash involving de Blasio’s security detail.  That accident happened when an SUV carrying de Blasio collided with a truck while driving the wrong way in Harlem.  No accident report was filed and the details were kept out of the public eye.

Suing a Municipality 

As these two accidents involving Mayor de Blasio’s security detail illustrate, suing a municipality for injuries arising from a car or other accident can be complicated.  Aside from public image concerns, the law regarding lawsuits against municipalities differs from that involving traditional defendants.  Those who have been injured due to the negligence of a state or local government or its employees will need to follow these laws precisely to recover for their injuries.

The Notice of Claim 

Before you can file a claim against a municipality, you will need to file a Notice of Claim.  This notice must be filed within 90 days of the date of the accident, or within 90 days from the date of the appointment of the personal representative in a wrongful death matter.  The Notice of Claim must be notarized and include details about the claim, such as the nature of the claim, details surrounding its occurrence, and the number of damages incurred.

You then have to wait at least 30 days from the filing of the notice to commence your lawsuit.  Lawsuits against municipalities are complex and generally harder to pursue than a traditional personal injury case.  Contact the Law Office of Michael LoGiudice for experienced assistance with your case against the city or state.

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