Horsing Around

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Q: In the middle of May, my daughter was playing in the school yard. The students were horsing around. One of them hurt Angel’s ankle. School personnel observed this event. They sent my daughter to the school nurse, who made a report. Until the Fall, I was not aware of the severity of Angel’s injuries. Now I want to retain an attorney and serve a notice of claim upon the school district. My friends say it’s too late.

A: Under section 50-e(1)(a) of the General Municipal Law, where a notice of claim is required, it generally must be served within ninety days after the claim arises. Occasionally, the court can permit a late notice of claim, after considering whether you have a reasonable excuse, the school district or other public entity already knew about the incident, and the entity has not been substantially prejudiced in its ability to maintain its defense. To show a reasonable excuse, it is best to have hard medical evidence sufficient to indicate that you could not have been expected readily to appreciate the severity of your daughter’s injuries. If you bring a claim, it will be that the district failed properly to instruct, supervise, monitor and control students during the recess. The court is interested in whether the district already knew, before your notice, about the wildness in the school yard that day. It may be hoped that your attorney can go to bat and win this for you, but do not be shocked if the court refuses to permit the suit, reasoning that your delay in serving a notice of claim beyond the ninety-day period has prejudiced the district in its ability to defend itself.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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