How to File a Claim for Damages

Why must a claim be filed?

The State Legislature enacted Government Code Section 910, et al., which provides legal guidelines for resolving disputes involving public funds. These laws require the filing of a sufficient and timely claim with a public entity before a lawsuit can be brought. These guidelines exist for both the public and the public agency. Some of those legal guidelines are:

a) Claims for death, injury to person, or to personal property must be filed not later than six months after the occurrence. See Government Code Section 911.2.

b) Claims for damages to real property must be filed not later than one (1) year after the occurrence. See Government Code Section 911.2.

c) A written Application for Leave to Present a Late Claim, along with a copy of the proposed claim, must be filed when a claim is not submitted within the time guideline. See Government Code Section 911.4.

Please also refer to Rohnert Park Municipal Code Chapter 2.44 - Claims Against the City for more information.

Instructions for filing a claim against the City of Rohnert Park

1) To ensure processing of your claim, complete each item on the claim form.

2)  Mail or hand-deliver the completed and signed claim to the City Clerk, City of Rohnert Park, 130 Avram Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928. Government Code Section 915 requires claims to be mailed on hand delivered to the City Clerk.

3) Once your claim is received, it will be forwarded to the City’s third party administrator for processing.

4.) Once the investigation of your claim has been completed, you will be notified in writing or contacted directly with regard to the merits of your claim. In order for the City to utilize public funds for payment on any claim, there first must be an evaluation of liability.

5) If you have any questions about completing this form or the claims process, please contact the City Clerk at 707-588-2227.The City Clerk can assist you with processing your claim but is not a resource for legal guidance regarding claims. If you have any legal questions about your claim, please refer to Government Code 910 et al. for guidance or seek professional help from an attorney.

Presentation of a false claim is a felony (Penal Code §72). Pursuant to CCP §§128.5 and 1038, the City may seek to recover costs of defense in the event an action is filed that is later determined not to have been brought in good faith and with reasonable cause.

How do I file a claim for damages against the City?

If you believe that the city is responsible for damages to you or your property, you must file a written claim within six months of the incident, in most cases. In order to meet legal requirements you must supply specific information. To assist you in meeting those requirements, the city has prepared a claim form for your use. Hard copy claim forms are available from the City Clerk’s Office. Completed claim forms must be mailed or hand delivered to the City Clerk’s Office along with copies of invoices, receipts or pictures documenting your damages. The City Clerk is located at City of Rohnert Park, 130 Avram Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928.

What happens to the claim after it is filed?

After a claim is filed, it is forwarded to the City’s third party administrator for handling. A claims adjuster will contact the claimant to discuss the claim and determine damages. The results are forwarded to the claims adjuster who subsequently reports to the City whether the claim should be accepted or denied. If the claim is determined to be untimely or incomplete, it will be returned to you.

Is filing a claim for damages the same thing as small claims court?

No, small claims cases are filed with the Sonoma County Superior Court. However, before filing an action with the small claims court, a claim must first have been filed with the City and rejected.