A plaintiff bringing an action against a public entity under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, N.J.S.A. 59:1-1, et seq., is required to serve a pre-suit notice of any such claim within ninety days of the claim’s accrual. N.J.S.A. 59:8-8. Failure to timely file a notice of tort claim is fatal to a claim, with limited exceptions. However, courts may extend the time for a claimant to serve a late notice of tort claim for up to twelve months from the claim’s accrual, only upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances justifying why the notice could not have been issued within ninety days. N.J.S.A. 59:8-9. The purpose of this stringent notice requirement is to expedite incident investigation in furtherance of pre-litigation settlement, and to allow the public entity to prepare a colorable defense. Wood v. County of Burlington, 302 N.J. Super. 371 (App. Div. 1997).