Petitioner state trooper was involved in a traffic accident with a county sheriff and sought to file a late notice of claim against the county. The county was aware of the potential claim from the outset, because a county employee was involved. Therefore leave to file a late notice of claim was properly granted:
Although a police report regarding an automobile accident does not, in and of itself, constitute notice of a claim to a municipality, where the municipality’s employee was involved in the accident and the report or investigation reflects that the municipality had knowledge that its employee committed a potentially actionable wrong, the municipality can be found to have actual notice … . In this case, the subject motor vehicle accident involved an Orange County Sheriff’s vehicle and employee. Numerous officers from the Orange County Sheriff’s office responded to the scene of the accident. Further, the police accident report prepared by a state police officer who responded to the scene contained the injured petitioner’s account of how the accident occurred. Specifically, the police report indicated that the County committed a potentially actionable wrong when its employee allegedly failed to yield the right of way to the injured petitioner’s vehicle even though the injured petitioner’s vehicle’s lights and sirens were activated. The police accident report also indicated that the injured petitioner was allegedly injured in the accident. Moreover, upon submitting a request to the County pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law for documents related to this accident, the County produced the police accident report, photographs taken of the vehicles and the accident scene, unit activity logs for the vehicles, and the Orange County Sheriff’s report regarding the accident. Thus, the County acquired timely actual knowledge of the essential facts constituting the petitioners’ claim … .
Moreover, as the County acquired timely knowledge of the essential facts constituting the petitioners’ claim, the petitioners met their initial burden of showing that the County would not be prejudiced by the late notice of claim … . Matter of McVea v County of Orange, 2020 NY Slip Op 04840, Second Dept 9-2-20