A woman was driving on Post Road on March 4, 1982. Her car slid and skidded on the road. The driver lost control of her car and she finally stopped when her car wrapped itself around a tree on the side of the road.
The woman was unconscious. The emergency crew brought the woman to the nearest hospital and she was found to have sustained a fractured rib, a dislocated ankle and foot, cardiac and pulmonary contusions and a ruptured spleen.
The woman had to undergo several surgeries to treat her internal injuries. A graft had to be made on a vein in her broken right leg. A metal pin had to be inserted into the broken shin bone. Her spleen also had to be excised. The woman stayed in the hospital for five months. She was transferred to another hospital and stayed there for one more month. When she was discharged from the hospital after six months after the accident, the woman had to stay and recuperate in bed under the constant care of a private nurse. The woman was heavily medicated as she recovered from her relatives.
The woman consulted an attorney but she could not file a case as yet because she was readmitted into the hospital because she developed complications. She developed a blodd disorder which caused her more pain, dizziness and fatigue. She was hospitalized for another month. When she was discharged from the hospital, she was also under the care of a private nurse because she was confined to bed. A month after her discharge from the hospital, she was again readmitted into the hospital two months later because of bleeding in her joints and in her mouth. Much later when her health had stabilized, she again underwent surgery.
The woman was not able to bring a suit in damages until after one year and two months had elapsed from the time of the accident. She immediately asked the trial court for leave to serve a notice of claim against the government of Nassau County for its failure to design, construct and maintain the road way in a reasonably safe condition. She claims that the failure of the County to erect guardrails on the side of the road was one of the causes why her car skidded off the road and fell into an embankment and hit a tree.
She explained her failure to timely file a notice of claim by saying that she had been totally disabled from the time of the accident until the time was finally able to file the suit in damages. She asserted that her delay was excusable considering that she suffered complications after her surgeries. She also submitted deposition testimonies of two physicians who attended to her from the time of her accident until the time of her discharge from the hospital. They testified to the nature and extent of her injuries. They also testified that she was severely and totally disabled from the time of the accident and that her disabilities persist until the present time.
The trial court denied her motion for leave to file a late notice of claim. The woman appealed this ruling of the trial court but the appellate court denied her appeal. She now comes to the Suffolk Supreme Court on the sole question of whether or not she may be given leave to file a late notice of claim against Nassau County.
The Court held that the appellate court erred when it denied the woman leave to file a late notice of claim. The Court stated that an extension of the period to file a notice of claim is allowable when the delay in filing a notice of claim is due to excusable neglect; and when the county acquired actual knowledge of the essential facts regarding the claim.
The woman was in severe pain and was confined to her bed during the time that she could have filed the notice of claim. The county of Nassau had sufficient knowledge of the facts regarding the accident because in the time after the accident, the county ordered a study to be made on the safety of the road and it accepted recommendations as to how the road can be improved.
Are you like the woman in this case? Did you fail to file a notice of claim against the government of your town or county because you were severely disabled from an accident on a roadway? You need to consult and seek the advice of a Nassau Car Accident attorney before filing a complaint for damages. You need to hear your options from a Nassau Car Accident lawyer. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their Nassau Car Accident lawyers are ready and willing to represent you. The Nassau Car Accident attorneys from Stephen Bilkis and Associates are willing to present evidence and argue your case. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today.