When a city employee injures someone, the city must be notified. Under state law, this notice must occur within six months after the injury, if the city is being asked to pay a claim. Does this bar someone from bringing a lawsuit later?
No. The notice requirement in Minn. Stat. § 466.05, Subd. 1, is designed to make sure a city gets a chance to investigate matters, in a timely fashion. If the injured party fails to give notice to a city, the city may raise this as a defense in a lawsuit, but the city has to prove that it was prejudiced by the failure to give the notice.
As clarified by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Glassmann v. Miller, 356 N.W.2d 655 (Minn. 1984), failure to give notice is not grounds for dismissal of an action, but may be used as a defense provided the municipality can establish prejudice. Accord, Nisbet v. Hennepin County, 548 N.W.2d 314 (Minn. App. 1996). This is consistent with the construction the Minnesota Supreme Court gave the state tort claims statute inNaylor v. Minnesota Daily, 342 N.W.2d 632, 634-35 (Minn. 1984).