NBC News had a recent feature on a little-known statute which requires persons injured in accidents with the CTA to provide the CTA with a special statutory notice. If the notice is not completed or if information is missing or wrong, then the lawsuit gets dismissed. It does not matter that the CTA has the correct information – the lawsuit still gets dismissed.
The woman featured in the NBC news story had serious injuries which required surgery, but due to an incorrect address for her doctor, her case was thrown out of court.
This law is one that applies if you are injured in a fall on CTA property, are injured while a passenger on a CTA bus or el train, or are struck by a CTA vehicle. The law is intended to protect the CTA against fraudulent claims, but is applied strictly even when the CTA knows all about the claim and that it is legitimate. This results in the unfair dismissal of meritorious lawsuits. It is not a level playing field when you take on the CTA.
The deadline for the notice is 6 months from the date of accident. As a matter of practice our office files the notice of claim promptly in order to avoid possible errors due to a lapse of memory. Also, when the CTA is sued and served with the lawsuit in the 6 month period, compliance with the notice requirement is not strictly required, so we also make it a practice to sue the CTA quickly to avoid the technical trap which gives the CTA its unwarranted advantage.