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Injury Claims and Lawsuit Against Government Entities – Counties, Cities and the State of Washington

If your injuries result from actions taken by the government, you can bring a claim against the government in much the same way that you can sue a person or corporation. Governments are not immune from lawsuits. Most government entities, including every Washington county, city and the state itself, require that you give notice before you can file a lawsuit. This process of notification is often initiated by filing a “tort claim.”

Types of claims against the government vary greatly. Local, state and county governments are huge employers and provide a vast array of service. The list goes on infinitely – any time the government or its employees cause injury to people, the potential exists for a claim. Here are a few common examples:

  • Slip and falls on improperly maintained sidewalks and bike paths;
  • Accidents caused by bus drivers (including Metro, Sound Transit and Pierce Transit);
  • Negligently maintained roads and crosswalks including manhole covers;
  • Police brutality and civil rights abuses by government officials;
  • Negligent child placement resulting in sexual abuse;
  • Injuries to children at public schools due to negligent supervision;
  • Car accidents caused by government employees

The State of Washington’s Office of Risk Management handles tort claims and you must serve the office with a tort claim form in order to initiate a claim against the State of Washington. The Office of Risk Management and the Department of Enterprise Services maintains a website that provides copies of the forms and instructions on how to fill out the forms (http://www.des.wa.gov/services/Risk/claims/Pages/standardTortClaims.aspx). Washington law requires that you wait 60 days after filing the tort claim before you can file a lawsuit against the State of Washington or any agencies or subparts of the State such as the Department of Transportation or Department of Social and Health Services. (http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.92.110).

This same process holds true for bringing a claim against cities and counties, including any government owned entities like King County metro, Sound Transit or other bus or public transportation entities. Larger cities and most counties provide tort claim forms to the public through their websites. Below are links to several city and county claim forms and larger public transportation systems throughout the State of Washington:


City of Seattle – http://www.seattle.gov/filing-a-damage-claim

Tacoma – http://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=1882

Kent – http://www.kentwa.gov/content.aspx?id=19928

Bellevue – www.bellevuewa.gov/word/Attorney/Claim_for_Damages.doc

Everett – https://everettwa.gov/184/Claims-Against-the-City

Renton – http://rentonwa.gov/uploadedFiles/Working/HRRM/RIsk_Mgmt/Claim%20For%20Damages%20Form.pdf

Spokane – https://my.spokanecity.org/administrative/claims/

Yakima – https://www.yakimawa.gov/services/clerks/files/2012/04/Standard-Tort.pdf

Auburn – http://www.auburnwa.gov/Assets/Administration/AuburnWA/Docs/claim_for_damages.pdf

Most cities also permit use of the Washington Standard Tort Claim Form: http://www.des.wa.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/RiskManagement/allforms.pdf


King County – http://www.kingcounty.gov/property/Risk/Claims/ClaimForms.aspx

Pierce County – http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/index.aspx?NID=1917

Snohomish County – http://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1947

Thurston County – http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/hr/docs/claim-for-damages-form.pdf

Spokane County – https://www.spokanecounty.org/496/Filing-Claims-for-Damages

Public Transportation / Buses:

King County Metro – http://www.kingcounty.gov/property/Risk/~/media/property/Risk/Documents/KC_Claim_Form_Complete_Then_Print.ashx

Pierce Transit – http://www.piercetransit.org/file_viewer.php?id=625

Sound Transit – http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/about/soundtransitclaimreportform-fillableform-1-1-15.pdf

This list is not exhaustive. Many government agencies and government owned hospitals and utility districts have their own forms.

Our office can represent you and help you in filing claims and pursuing damages against government entities or employees whose negligence caused you and your family to suffer injuries.

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