We Represent People Injured By State, Municipal, and Other Public Entities

Public entity liability involves many types of claims, including claims made against police departments, State and municipal government employers and employees, and school districts. Types of State and municipal claims include:

  • Excessive force by the police
  • Improper pursuit by the police
  • Dangerous conditions on public property, including parks, government workplaces, or schools
  • Poorly maintained or designed roads
  • Negligence of a municipal employers or employees
  • Discrimination by a government official or entity

You have the right to be represented by an attorney. In New Jersey, legislation known as the Tort Claims Act, also known as Title 59, lays out the specific law that an injured claimant must carefully follow when suing a public entity.  A claim against Public Entity is an intricate area of the law that only an experienced lawyer can guide you through.

Notice Requirements

First, if you have been injured and you think that a public entity is possibly at fault, you must notify the public entity, in writing, by certified mail, within not later than 90 days of the incident.  Generally, if you do not comply with the 90-day notice requirement, your claim will be barred forever.  The Tort Claims Act also spells out what information must be included in the 90-day notice letter.  The Tort Claims Act is a complex web of laws with many exceptions.  In addition to the 90 day notice requirement, the statute of limitations against public entities can be different in certain circumstances.  For example, if you are injured as a result of the negligence Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, you have to file notice, and you must then file a lawsuit within one year of the date of your injury.

If you are unable to settle with the public entity within six months of the notice, you are then entitled to file a lawsuit.  The Tort Claims Act also limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after giving notice, which is generally two-years from the date of the incident that gives rise to the claim.

At Shebell & Shebell, we are well-versed in public entity law and the New Jersey Tort Claims Act.  An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complicated procedures prescribed by the Act.

Governmental Immunities

The Tort Claims Act grants broad immunities to government employees for their actions.  Each immunity that is listed within the statute has specific situations in which it can be applied.  In some instance, our attorneys will challenge the public entities ability to assert their claim of immunity.  We analyze in  detail every claim to determine if a viable cause of action exists.

In some situations you may not be permitted to make a claim against the government unless an employee acted willfully or outside the scope of their discretionary powers.  In some situations if we cannot prove that the employee acted willfully, or with gross negligence, the public entity may not be held liable for their actions.  Despite this limitation, public employees may not act in complete disregard for the rights of others.  If a public employee’s action constitutes a crime, fraud, malice or willful misconduct, you may still have a viable claim.

Additionally, a claimant must show that he or she has suffered a permanent injury that has impacted that person’s usual and customary activities to a significant degree.

If You Have Been Injured, We Can Help

The skilled public entity liability lawyers at Shebell & Shebell will gather and preserve all evidence to support your claim. If the firm determines that we can pursue the case, we will prepare and file the necessary documentation, in accord with the requirements of the Tort Claims Act. We can advocate on your behalf in all proceedings, and give you trusted legal advice at every step along the way. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a public entity, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today.

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What Are People Saying About Our Attorneys?


Thomas Shebell was an A M A Z I N G attorney for our personal injury case. He made himself available to all our questions and concerns during the whole process. We were very nervous about it all and he set our fears to rest. You instantly believe in him after your first meeting. He was serious yet empathetic, had superb legal knowledge, and great judgement. His staff is also top notch. Words cannot describe how wonderful a lawyer we believe Thomas Shebell to be and would highly recommend him.
Posted by Michele on December 8

My hero, my attorney who is always there for me!

Tom Shebell has represented me and my family members in several cases. Tom is the most prepared lawyer I have ever seen, and demands respect in and outside of the court room. His staff is amazing and never makes you feel as if you are bothering them. I always feel that I am his most important client, and he always takes my call. If he is busy, I am reassured that he will get right back to me and he does. His knowledge of the law and research on your case is impecable, and will never give up until he gets the results that he feels are the best for you. Although he is the most professional attorney I have ever worked with, he refers you call him Tom (not Mr. Shebell), and I am most comfortable calling him Tommy. His cell phone is on his answering service, to comfort you and assuring you that you can reach him if necessary, no matter what. I will never retain another lawyer, unless it is a case that he cannot handle. That has never happened to me. Unfortunately, Tommy is handling a very emotional case for my family, and whenever we discuss it our meet together he is very comforting to us. For a family man, and extremely busy attorney to handle matters like this, it truly takes a special type of person, and extraordiinary human being. If anyone take my advise, Tom Shebell, III is the only attorney that should be called first, and believe me you will not make another call. As I said in my title, he is my true "hero"!
Posted by Sandi on September 17

I am Grateful I was able to have Thomas Shebell for my Lawyer

Thomas Shebell and his staff were very good to work with. They were always professional, but also very down to earth and real. I always felt that my best interest was their main concern. I was always able to call with questions and concerns and was never made to wait or to feel like I was inconveniencing anyone. I always felt that they knew instantly who I was and what was going on with my case. In the end, Thomas was able to get the best possible settlement for me. I am very grateful to have been treated like my case truly mattered to them.
Posted by Toni on March 28

Ferocious Fighter

Tom Shebell and his firm came highly recommended by several reputable people in the community. I come from a family deeply rooted in law enforcement, so I greatly appreciate that Tom grew up with the law as well, hailing from a family of highly respected attorneys. He easily grasped the complexity of my case and eased my concerns, while ferociously fighting for me. One of the moments that stands out to me the most was when I voiced a concern over possible retaliation and he said, "they're going to have come through me first." I wholeheartedly believed him then and now. There is no one else I'd want in my corner than Tom Shebell.
Posted by on February 23

A League Of His Own

Mere words cannot express my gratitude to Thomas F Shebell III. He took on a case, that other attorneys would shy away from and fought vehemently for my husband, myself and our daughter. His tenacity is only surpassed by his kindness and compassion for his clients well-being. I would recommend Mr. Shebell III to anyone who may need an attorney to guide them through a difficult time and see them through to a successful end. Many thanks again to him and his staff!!