Filing a Damage Claim Finance & Administrative Services Department - Fred Podesta, Director
If you believe the City is at fault for an incident or accident resulting in loss, injury or damages, you can file a claim requesting payment. Details on the claim filing process, frequently asked questions and links to the Claim for Damages forms are below. If you have additional questions or need interpretation, please call the City's Customer Service Bureau at 206-684-2489.
Process for filing a damage claim with the City of Seattle:
- Claims must be filed on one of these two official Claim for Damages form, but you can choose which form to use:
a. Download the City of Seattle Claim for Damages Form, or call 206-684-8213 to obtain a form by mail.
b. Download the State of Washington Standard Tort Claim Form.
- Sign and either mail or hand deliver your Claim for Damages form to the City Clerk's office:
City Clerk's Office
P.O. Box 94728
Seattle, WA 98124-4728
Hand delivery address:
City Clerk's Office
City Hall, 3rd floor
600 Fourth Ave.
(Between James and Cherry Streets)
Please be aware that you must file your claim within the Washington state statute of limitations, which are different for different types of claims. See RCW 4.16 for the various statutes of limitation.
FAQ: File a claim for damages against the City
A claim is a request for payment for a loss, injury or damages that you incurred in an incident/accident.
The claims process follows Washington State Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 4.96.020 and Seattle Municipal Code 5.24.005.
You must file your claim within the state statute of limitations. There are different statutes of limitation for different types of claims. See RCW 4.16 for the various statutes of limitation.
Yes, in most circumstances where you seek money damages, you must file a claim if you believe the City of Seattle is responsible for your loss, injury or damages.
You can print a claim form from the website, call 206-684-8213 to request a form be mailed to you, or pick up a claim form from the Office of the City Clerk at: 600 Fourth Ave., 3rd floor, Seattle.
Claims must include:
1. Name, date of birth, contact information.
2. Description of the circumstances that brought about the injury or damage.
3. Description of the injury or damage.
4. Statement of the time and place the injury or damage occurred.
5. List of all persons involved and contact information if known.
6. Statement of the amount of damages claimed.
7. Statement of the actual residence of the claimant at the time of presenting the claim and at the time the claim arose.
8. Signed by the person filing the claim, the attorney-in-fact for the claimant, an attorney admitted to practice in Washington state on the claimant's behalf, or a court approved guardian or guardian ad litem on behalf of the claimant.
9. Original signature on the claim form that is filed with the Office of the City Clerk since this is a legal document.
It will help your claim to include any supporting records, such as receipts, estimates and invoices, along with any additional evidence, such as photos, diagrams, etc. All documents filed with your claim are subject to Washington state public disclosure statutes.
Claims for damages against the City of Seattle must be filed with the City Clerk's Office in person or by mail. The address and location are on the back of the claim form.
Your claim will be sent to the City's Risk Management Office the following business day after the date you filed the claim. You will receive a claim acknowledgement by mail, e-mail or telephone call. A claims adjuster will then investigate your claim. Possible resolutions are that the City:
1. Pays a sum of money.
2. Transfers the claim to another party or entity.
3. Denies the claim where there is no evidence of City negligence.
The length of time will vary from case to case. On average, claims take up to 60 days to resolve, but more complicated cases may take longer.
The considerations in evaluating a claim include:
1. The facts of the loss.
2. The applicable law.
3. Whether the City of Seattle has legal responsibility.
4. The claimant's role in the situation.
5. The nature and extent of damages claimed.
You are responsible for all medical expenses that you incur. If you believe the City of Seattle is responsible for your injuries, you must file a claim. The circumstances surrounding your injury will be investigated. If a settlement is warranted, it may include reimbursement of your medical bills. The City does not pay medical providers directly.
Even if you believe the City is responsible for the damages, you are responsible for hiring and paying for repairs necessary to restore your property to the same condition it was just before the damage occurred. If the City of Seattle accepts responsibility for the damages, the billing for the repairs will be reviewed for relevance to the claim and if the City offers reimbursement for the related damages, the appropriate sum for the work will be part of your settlement with the City. Please be aware that the City will review the charges and will not reimburse for improvements beyond the condition of the property just before the damage occurred.
I need a rental vehicle because my vehicle is badly damaged or unsafe to drive. How can I get a rental vehicle?
The City of Seattle does not authorize rentals but will pay for the loss of use of your vehicle while it is being repaired or not drivable if the City is responsible for your damages. Please understand that the claims adjuster must complete an investigation to determine responsibility prior to any authorization to pay for the loss of use of your vehicle while being repaired or not drivable. You may consider contacting your own automobile insurance company for assistance in the meantime. Should you choose to rent a vehicle prior to the conclusion of the claims adjuster's investigation then you may be responsible for all or part of that expense. The City of Seattle does not reimburse for fuel, mileage or any insurance waivers the rental company may charge you.
Call your claims adjuster. If you do not have your adjuster's direct number, call 684-8213 during normal business hours Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
If you have new information or information not previously presented, then please contact your claims adjuster and provide that information. Otherwise, you could consult a private attorney at your own expense for your next options, to include litigation.
In order to obtain translation help, please call your claims adjuster.