Any person seeking to bring suit against a public entity or public employee must comply with several prerequisites. N.J.S.A. 59:8 et seq.
First, the individual must file a timely notice of claim (90 days from accrual of cause of action) with the appropriate public entity. There are four reasons for this requirement: “(a) to allow the public entity at least six months for administrative review with the opportunity to settle meritorious claims prior to the bringing of suit, (b) to provide the public entity with prompt notification of a claim in order to adequately investigate the facts and prepare a defense,” Reale v. Wayne Township, 132 N.J. Super. 100, 109 (Law Div. 1975), (c) to afford the public entity a chance to correct the condition complained of, and (d) to provide the public entity with an opportunity to be informed in advance concerning the indebtedness or liability that it may be expected to meet. Beauchamp v. Amedio, 164 N.J. 111, 121-22 (2000). A notice of claim is required to be filed with the public entity even when the action lies against the public employee. It must identify all the entities against whom the claim is brought. Notice need not be given to, nor identify, the public employee. The notice of claim must be in writing and signed by the claimant or a person on his behalf.
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