San Diego

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Public Liability

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The Risk Management Department, Public Liability and Loss Recovery Division administers a self-insured program for public liability (tort) risks, which is supplemented by purchased excess liability insurance. The division supports:

  1. Investigation and settlement of all claims arising from the City's operation as a municipality;
  2. Services to citizens and special event promoters to ensure the public's interests are protected with appropriate insurance;
  3. Selection and purchase of all risk and excess liability insurance; and
  4. Investigation and recovery of damages to City assets caused by individuals and corporate entities.

The following, non-exclusive, listing reflects examples of the types of claims that can be filed against the City:

  • Automobile accidents involving a City vehicle.
  • Water main breaks and flooding.
  • Sewer main back-ups and flooding.
  • Tow away.
  • Trip and falls.

Liability Claim Form

Any claim against the City must be made in writing and be completed in accordance with California Government Code sections 900-915.4. Most claims must be presented to the Risk Management Department no later than six months after the date of the incident or event. The claim form (PDF icon Claim Against the City of San Diego Form (RM-9)) must be accurately completed, printed, signed by the claimant and mailed to:

City of San Diego
Risk Management Department
1200 Third Ave., Suite 1000
San Diego, CA 92101


Please be advised that the City is prohibited from providing legal advice. Claimants should consult an attorney as necessary.

After the claim has been received by our office:

  1. An investigation will be conducted. When filling out the form, please be as accurate as possible to expedite the investigation process.
  2. Provide written justification for the amount of loss indicated on the form:
    • Property damage claims require an estimate and photographs of the damage.
    • Personal injury claims should be accompanied by unaltered copies of bills from treating physician(s) or other expenses incurred from the injury sustained.

Information requested by the Public Liability Division does not guarantee that your claim has been accepted for payment nor does it mean that the City accepts liability. Any information provided will be evaluated as part of the investigative process.

Loss Recovery

The Public Liability and Loss Recovery Division coordinates the recovery of monies from responsible third parties for damages caused to City property as well as injuries to City personnel.

Insurance carrier inquiries regarding damages caused by their insured can be directed to Grace Smith at 619-236-6737.