Can I Sue the City of San Diego?
Civil claims against government entities are complex. While filing a claim against a city or other municipal body is possible, it often requires adherence to strict procedures. Any misstep in the process could result in losing the right to file a claim and any associated compensation for injuries. As such, it is essential to have a local injury attorney’s help when pursing any claims against the government.
When Is the City of San Diego Liable for Damages?
A person may only pursue a claim against the city under certain circumstances. Grounds for a civil claim may exist when a case meets specific criteria.
- The city owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. The accident occurred on public property or in the commencement of a government sanctioned activity (i.e. riding a city bus).
- The city violated its duty of care to the plaintiff by committing negligence. Many forms of negligence may exist – for example, a person may sustain injury due to a dangerous or defective condition on city property, or the negligent actions of a city employee may cause an accident.
- The city’s negligence was the proximal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. In other words, the action or inaction undertaken by the government directly caused the person’s accident.
- The plaintiff suffered harm as a result. Examples of harm include both economic damages, such as compensation for medical bills and lost income, as well as intangible damages such as physical pain.
The Notice of Claim
Municipal entities, including the city of San Diego, require special procedures for filing a claim. One of these is a required “notice of claim” to the party. Unlike a traditional suit, a person cannot simply file a claim with the court and notify the party of intent to sue. Instead, an attorney must draft a document, called a notice of claim that notifies the city of intent to file a claim for damages. The notice of claim must include specific information regarding the nature of the accident, the parties involved, and the damages sustained as a result of the alleged negligence.
San Diego has a claim form that anyone interested in filing a claim must submit with proper documentation. With the claim, a person should include any evidence that he or she believes will help his or her case.
- Photos of the accident scene
- Estimates of the damage
- Eyewitness contact information
- Descriptions of injuries, physician notes and contact information
Once a person submits the claim, local law allows the City of San Diego 45 days to investigate the claim and make a decision. If the city claims culpability in the matter, then it will pay out a claim directly to the injured party. However, if the city does not believe it is responsible, the person will receive a claim denial. In the denial, the person seeking the claim will receive an explanation of reasoning and additional legal remedies allowed by state law.
When pursuing an accident claim against a city or other municipal entity, it is essential to have an attorney that helps navigate the process. He or she is familiar with the legal procedures required to process such claims and will also be aware of any additional legal remedies that may be available. He or she can help serve as an advocate throughout the process and will demand fair compensation for any injuries sustained on city property.
Claims against the government are notoriously complicated and feature a short statute of limitations. If you suffered harm and believe that the government may be responsible, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney and explore your legal options as soon as possible.