If you were injured in a bus accident, you may have a cause of action against multiple parties including but not limited to the bus company, bus operator/driver, bus owner, etc. It is important to consult a bus accident lawyer immediately for a number of reasons. First, there may be very short notice of claims deadlines for recovery of damages. Your lawyer will have to determine who owns the bus (a public or private company). Many buses are owned by public entities (such as NJ Transit). If the bus is owned by a public entity, your lawyer will have to comply with the notice requirements of the New Jersey Torts Claim Act. Additionally, a bus accident/personal injury lawyer/ will be able to preserve relevant evidence and subpoena documents that you would never think may be helpful to your case.
Claims against public entities
In New Jersey, if an individual has a claim for damages against a public entity, he/she must give notice of such claim no later than 90 days following accrual of the cause of action. The date of accrual is the date when the negligent act or omission occurred. The ninety-day notice requirement accomplishes two purposes, notifying the public entity of the circumstances surrounding the incident so it may correct the conditions or practices that led to the claim, and informing the public entity in advance of the financial liability that it may be expected to meet.
Extraordinary circumstances exception
If you did not give proper notice within the 90 day timeframe prescribed by New Jersey law, you may be precluded from recovery of damages against the public entity. In certain limited situations, you may be allowed to file a late notice of claim (beyond the 90 day timeframe prescribed by the law). In order to file a late notice of claim, an individual (Plaintiff) must file a motion seeking permission from the court. To succeed on such motion, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the late filing was the result of "extraordinary circumstances" and that the defendant "has not been substantially prejudiced" by the delay. Under no circumstances, however, may the court grant the motion if it is filed more than one year after the accrual of the cause of action.
Authored by: Aneliya Angelova