As a general rule, municipalities in New Jersey have long held what is known as sovereign immunity, meaning they cannot be sued for personal injury. This immunity covers cities, towns, counties, school districts and the state of New Jersey. There are, however, specific exceptions to this broad grant of immunity, as set forth in the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (NJTCA).
The NJTCA mandates that anyone with a potential claim or lawsuit against a city, county, school district or the state of New Jersey provide notice within 90 days of the date of an injury or event giving rise to the claim. The specific municipality may have its own form governing notice of injury, so it’s important that you check. The notice that you provide, though, must give certain basic information, including:
- Your name and address
- The date, time and location of the accident or event
- What happened to cause your injuries
- A general description of the nature of your injuries
- The name of the public entity, as well as any employees, who were involved
Once you have submitted the notice, the municipality generally has six months to review your potential claim. You cannot file legal action until that six month period is over. There are some claims not covered, including lawsuits alleging discrimination under state law, or lawsuits covered by the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
The NJTCA protects not only municipalities, but their employees, with a few limited exceptions. If the injury is caused during the exercise of the employee’s duties, a lawsuit cannot be filed, unless:
- The employee acted in complete disregard for the safety of others
- The actions of the employee were outside the scope of his or her duties
- The actions of the employee were criminal in nature
Contact Our Office
Attorneys Ed Rebenack, Craig Aronow and Jay Mascolo all have more than 15 years of experience successfully representing personal injury victims. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at 732-247-3600 or in Somerville at 908-448-2560. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation.