[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Bellefonte 6-2-1980 by Ord. No. 841 (Ch. 208 of the 1979 Codified Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is enacted pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8563(a) of the Judicial Code, see 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8541 et seq., "Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act," in order to implement the intent of such Act.
Any person claiming damages from the Borough pursuant to the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act shall, within 180 days of the date of origin of the claim, notify the Borough Secretary of such claim, in writing, upon a claim form to be provided by the Secretary, stating the facts upon which the claim is based and the circumstances under which the claim arose.
Immediately upon receipt of the claim form referred to in § 18-2, properly executed by the claimant and/or his or her attorney under oath, the Borough Secretary shall file a copy of such form with the appropriate insurance carrier of the Borough.
Within 10 days of the filing of such claim form, the Borough Secretary shall present the claim to Council for review. Council may refer consideration of such claim to an appropriate committee of the Borough and/or to the Borough Solicitor for consideration and advice. Within 30 days of the first consideration of such claim by Council, the Borough shall take appropriate action upon such claim and notify the claimant or his or her attorney of the actions so taken, which may include referral of such claim to the Borough insurance carrier involved, further consideration of such claim, outright denial of such claim or such other action as Council, in its wisdom, deems prudent at the time and under the circumstances of such claim.
If the claimant or his or her attorney fails to file the required claim form within 180 days of the event or occurrence resulting in the alleged damages or within such other period of time as is allowed by Section 504(a) of the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, then such claim form shall have appended to it a statement of the reason for the failure of the claimant to file such claim form as required by law. In determining whether or not such failure to file within the aforesaid period is reasonable, the Borough shall consider only evidence under oath presented by the claimant as to his or her absence from the commonwealth from a period of time directly after the event or occurrence until the expiration of the 180 days, or an explanation by the claimant that he or she was not aware of his or her legal right to file such a claim, or evidence presented by the claimant that he or she was refused access to records, documents or other material necessary to establish his or her claim.
If a Borough employee is notified of a claim against him or her or the Borough, either verbally or in writing, such employee shall immediately notify the Borough Secretary and give him or her all the details of such claim or cause, including copies of any written notification or suit papers. At such time, if appropriate, the employee shall, upon a form to be furnished by the Secretary, make a claim for indemnification and/or a legal defense, as provided by the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. As a condition of such legal assistance, the employee shall acknowledge, in writing, upon such form, that the Borough is entitled to his or her full and complete cooperation in the investigation and defense of any such claim and, further, that the employee will approve any or all settlements which may be made by the Borough and/or its requisite insurance carriers of any claim so brought against the Borough or any of its employees.
The Borough Secretary is hereby authorized, required and requested, from time to time, to implement programs with the employees of the Borough for the purpose of identifying and minimizing risks of claims against the Borough and/or its employees and to implement such programs as may be required to receive from Borough employees a report of all incidents or conditions which they believe may give rise to liability on the part of the Borough and/or its employees. Further, the Secretary is hereby required and requested to maintain a record of such conditions and incidents for future reference by the Borough.
The employees of the Borough are hereby required, requested, warned and cautioned to give no statement to any person relating to any incident, condition or claim which may be made or has been made against the Borough or any employee thereof, unless such statement is made with the advice and consent of the Borough Solicitor or required by an authorized insurance carrier of the Borough or under order of a court.
The Borough Secretary is hereby authorized to make such operational changes and inspections as may from time to time be necessary to minimize risk of damages leading to claims against the Borough for personal injuries or property damage and shall maintain records of such changes and inspections.