Highway Law Section 139
County liable for injuries caused by defective highways and bridges
1.When, by law, a county has charge of the repair or maintenance of a road, highway, bridge or culvert, the county shall be liable for injuries to person or property and for wrongful death sustained in consequence of such road, highway, bridge or culvert being defective, out of repair, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed existing because of the negligence of the county, its officers, agents or servants. A civil action may be maintained against the county to recover damages for any such injury or death; but the county shall not be liable in such action unless a notice of claim shall have been made and served in compliance with General Municipal Law § 50-E (Notice of claim)section fifty-e of the general municipal law, and unless the action is commenced in compliance with the conditions set forth in General Municipal Law § 50-I (Presentation of tort claims)section fifty-i of the general municipal law.
2.Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of this section, a county may, by local law duly enacted, provide that no civil action shall be maintained against such county for damages or injuries to person or property sustained by reason of any highway, bridge or culvert being defective, out of repair, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed unless written notice of such defective, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed condition was actually given to the clerk of the governing body of such county or the county highway superintendent; and that there was a failure or neglect within a reasonable time after the giving of such notice to repair or remove the defect, danger or obstruction complained of, or, in the absence of such notice, unless such defective, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed condition existed for so long a period that the same should have been discovered and remedied in the exercise of reasonable care and diligence; but no such action shall be maintained for damages or injuries to person or property sustained solely in consequence of the existence of snow or ice upon any highway, bridge or culvert, unless written notice thereof, specifying the particular place, was actually given to the clerk of the governing body of a county or county highway superintendent and there was a failure or neglect to cause such snow or ice to be removed, or to make the place otherwise reasonably safe within a reasonable time after the receipt of such notice.
3.The county highway superintendent shall transmit in writing to the clerk of the governing body of the county within ten days after the receipt thereof all written notices received by him pursuant to a local law enacted pursuant to this section.
4.The clerk of the governing body of each county shall keep an indexed record, in a separate book, of all written notices, which he shall receive pursuant to such local law of the existence of a defective, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed condition in or upon, or of an accumulation of ice or snow upon any county highway, bridge or culvert, which record shall state the date of receipt of the notice, the nature and location of the condition stated to exist, and the name and address of the person from whom the notice is received. All such written notices shall be indexed according to the location of the alleged defective, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed condition, or the location of accumulated snow or ice. The record of each notice shall be preserved for a period of five years after the date it is received.
Section 139 — County liable for injuries caused by defective highways and bridges,
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/HAY/139 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Nov. 25, 2023).