The City of New York paid out $739.6 million in tort claims in Fiscal Year 2023, including $173.7 million to resolve motor vehicle claims—a 23 percent increase over FY 2022—according to a new report from the Comptroller’s Office.

Car accident claims are the most frequently filed lawsuits against the City, and the New York Police Department is the agency most often sued for car accidents. Legal action to hold the City accountable for crashes involves strict notice requirements and filing deadlines that may require help from a New York personal injury lawyer.

About the Annual Claims Report

Each year, the New York City Office of the Comptroller releases a report detailing lawsuits the City has faced and settled during the previous fiscal year.

Comptroller Brad Lander says the report is intended as a risk management tool for City agencies and a resource for the media, technologists, risk managers, and attorneys to gauge the City’s financial liabilities.

This year’s report was released on April 16, 2024 and covers the period July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. It found that, in FY 2023, New York paid $1.45 billion to resolve 13,277 claims and lawsuits against the City, up slightly from the $1.56 billion paid out in FY 2022.

FY 2023 Tort Filings Down, Payments Up

City payouts on personal injury and property damage claims (tort claims), a category that covers motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice claims, and police action, increased minimally in FY 2023 to $739.6 million, $1.8 million more than FY 2022. The number of tort claims filed in FY 2023 was down six percent.

Personal Injury Claim Types and Payouts

Payouts for personal injury claims, the most common—and the costliest—for the City to resolve, increased to $656 million in FY 2023.

There were 18,895 personal injury claims filed during the last fiscal year, a 24 percent increase from FY 2022. In FY 2023, personal injury claims accounted for 99 percent of all settled tort claims ($733.3 million out of $739.6 million), compared to $6.3 million paid out on property damage claims.

Personal injury claims cover allegations that include:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Civil rights violations
  • Injuries occurring at DOE schools
  • Motor vehicle crashes with City-owned vehicles
  • Defective sidewalks
  • Unlawful police or uniformed service employee actions

FY 2023 personal injury payouts averaged $134,656; 5 percent higher than the FY 2022 average of $128,649. The median payout decreased to $15,000 from $18,000.

Motor Vehicle Claims

NYC has the largest municipal fleet in the county, with about 30,000 motor vehicles.

Workers driving City-owned vehicles get into around 6,000 crashes per year. A 2023 Comptroller report covering the period FY 2012 to FY 2021 found that the City had paid $653.9 million to settle vehicle crash cases in ten years.

Motor vehicle claims allege that a City-owned vehicle struck a pedestrian, motorist, or other vehicle. They were the fourth-most frequently filed claim in FY 2023 (1,693), but the most expensive to resolve ($173.7 million). Car accident claims also had the most settlement of $1 million or more.

  • Fifty-eight of the 139 personal injury claims resolved in FY 2023 were motor vehicle claims.
  • Motor vehicle claim payouts totaled $106.1 million, or 61 percent of all FY 2023 personal injury claim payments.
  • FY 2023 motor vehicle claim payouts were the highest on record since FY 2000.
  • Motor vehicle claim payouts increased 158 percent from FY 2015 ($67.4 million) to FY 2023 ($173.7).
  • The number of motor vehicle tort claims increased from 1,166 in FY 2015 to 1,693 in FY 2023.

The NYC agency with the largest active fleet is the NYPD, which has approximately 8,000 vehicles in service. The Department of Sanitation has an estimated 4,835 in-service vehicles, followed by the Department of Transportation (3,436), Parks & Recreation (2,672), Citywide Administrative Services (2,325), the Department of Finance, and FDNY (1,971).

  • NYPD faced the most motor vehicle accident claims in FY 2023 (1,196) and paid $56 million in motor vehicle claim settlements and judgments.
  • The Department of Sanitation ranked second in the number of motor vehicle claims (892) and paid $47 million to resolve these claims in FY 2023.
  • FDNY had the third-most car accident claims (862) as well as the third-highest payout total ($41 million).

Other NYC agencies with a large number motor vehicle claims and payouts are the Department of Buildings, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Education, and the Department of Correction.

How to File an Injury Lawsuit Against NYC

Before a personal injury lawsuit can be commenced against the City of New York, a claimant must typically file a Notice of Claim with the Comptroller’s Office within 90 days of the accident date. The notice can be delivered by mail, in person, or electronically using the eClaim system.

Claimants can find the personal injury claim form here. Personal injury claims are typically filed by an attorney on behalf of a client.

Some claims, such as claims against the NYC Transit Authority, Health + Hospitals, and the MTA, are served directly on the appropriate NYC authority, not the Comptroller’s Office.

Once the City receives a Notice of Claim, it will investigate the incident and may offer a settlement. If a settlement offer is received, the claimant has 30 days to accept or reject it. The claimant may also be able to take the case to court.

Don’t Take on the Government Without a Lawyer

Suing New York City for a personal injury can be more challenging than suing a fellow New Yorker, but the Comptroller report shows that government lawsuits are frequently successful, provided claimants adhere to the complex filing process.

The Sanders Law Firm has a proven track record of winning injury cases against the City of New York, including a multi-million dollar verdict for a man hit by a police car and a million dollar award for a woman struck by a bus.

If you were hurt in an accident with a City-owned vehicle, strict filing deadlines require swift action. Call 833-SANDERS or Contact Us to schedule a free consultation.