Claims for damages against the City must be filed with the City Clerk's Office within the applicable statute of limitations. Claims must be filed on the official Claim for Damages form. You can use the City's claim form or the standard Tort Claim Form.  

Download the City of Seattle Claim for Damages Form, or call 206-684-8213 to obtain a form by mail.  

Download the State of Washington Standard Tort Claim Form.

The Claim for Damages form must be signed, and mailed or hand delivered to the City Clerk's Office

Mailing address:
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., 3rd floor
(Between James and Cherry Streets)

FAQ: File a claim for damages against the City

What is a Claim for Damages?

A claim is a request for payment for a loss, injury or damages that you incurred in an incident/accident.

What law regulates the City’s claims process?

How long do I have to file a claim?

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.

I filled out a report when I was involved in the accident; do I still need to file a claim?

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.

How do I get a claim form to file against the City of Seattle?

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.

What information do I need to include on my form?

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.

Should I include any other documents?

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.

Where do I file my claim?

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.

What happens when I file my claim?

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.

How long will the investigation take?

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.

What are the considerations in evaluating a claim?

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.

I was injured. Who is going to pay my medical expenses?

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.

I hired someone to restore damages. Who pays?

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.

How do I check the status of my claim?

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. 

What if my claim is denied and I disagree with that outcome?

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.

Where can I get translation help?

In order to obtain translation help, please call your claims adjuster.