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Filing a Claim or Making a Complaint

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To file a claim against the City and County of San Francisco, please fill out a Claim Form as required under California Government Code sections 905 and 915:

To file a claim for tax refund from the City and County of San Francisco, please fill out a Claim For Tax Refund form:


To file a claim for a property tax refund from the City and County of San Francisco, please fill out a Claim For Tax Refund form:

Please be sure to closely follow the instructions for filing a claim. Instructions are included with the downloadable forms referred to above. Failure to closely follow the instructions will delay the processing of your claim. For general information on how a claim is submitted and processed, please continue reading.

The original completed Claim Form must be filed in person or by mail with:

Controller's Office
Claims Division
1390 Market Street
7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102-5408

Claims for death or injury to persons or damage to personal property must be filed within six months after the accident giving rise to the claim. All other claims must be filed within one year. Claims for tax refund and supporting documentation must be submitted within one year from the date of payment or the date the return accompanying the payment was due, whichever is later.

Please allow 45 days for the Claims Division of the City Attorney's Office to process and investigate your claim.

A description of the City's claims procedures is as follows:

  1. A letter of acknowledgement with your claim number will be sent to you notifying you that your claim has been received. Please use this claim number when inquiring about your claim.
  2. An investigation will be conducted. It is our practice, when possible, to complete our investigation within 45 days of receiving your claim. Again, be sure to follow the instructions for filing a claim on the reverse side of the Claim Form and include all of the requested information, including the names and addresses of all witnesses. Attach a list of additional names if necessary.
  3. You are required to provide written justification of the amount of your claim:
    • a. Property damage claims require two estimates and photographs of the damage.
    • b. Personal injury claims require complete unaltered copies of all bills from treating physician(s) or other expenses that may have been incurred as a result of an injury. If you contend that you have incurred a wage loss, please provide appropriate supporting documentation with your claim.

Any request for information by the Claims Division of the City Attorney's Office is not a commitment to pay your claim or an admission of liability. All of the information you submit will be evaluated together with the results of our investigation.

The evaluation of your claim may result in several actions, the most common being:

  1. A settlement offer, if all of the information has been submitted; or
  2. A formal denial. If a formal denial letter is sent to you, this means that our evaluation has determined that the City is not a fault and will not pay any money in response to your claim. You are free to write or speak to the Claims Division representative handling your claim. If your claim is denied and you wish to file a lawsuit against the City, you must file your lawsuit within six months from the date your denial letter is placed in the mail; or
  3. Postponement of any action until medical treatment has been completed and bills and/or appropriate wage loss forms and payroll records are submitted. If you do not receive a formal denial of your claim, you have two years from the date of your accident to resolve your claim or file a lawsuit.

You may seek the advice of an attorney at any time during the investigation and evaluation of your claim. Your cooperation in promptly returning the completed Claim Form to the Controller's Office Claims Division will begin the processing of your claim.

Complaints Related to City Services

Aside and apart from filing claims against the City through the process described above, residents are encouraged to submit feedback about City services. The following city departments are responsible for collecting information about citizens' experiences with government services:

The 311 Call Center

3-1-1 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects customers with highly-trained Customer Service Representatives ready to help you with non-emergency City and County of San Francisco government matters, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Dial 3-1-1 or call 415-701-2311(voice) or 415-701-2323 (TTY) if calling from outside a San Francisco 415 area code, anestd operators will be able to assist you in reporting a problem or filing a request:

  • Request/Report Services
  • Graffiti removal
  • Pothole repair
  • Illegal signs
  • Street cleaning
  • Illegal dumping
  • Sidewalk defect
  • Broken news rack
  • Overflowing litter receptacle
  • Trim a city-owned tree
  • Public toilet damage
  • Clogged catch basins
  • Broken parking meter
  • File a Muni passenger complaint
  • Report a lost & found item for Muni
  • Obtain Muni route information

The Office of Citizen Complaints (for SFPD Matters)

The Office of Citizen Complaints was created by a voter initiated amendment to the San Francisco City Charter (Section 3.530.2) and placed under the direct supervision of the Police Commission in 1983. Its purpose is to investigate complaints against San Francisco police officers. It is staffed by civilians who have never been police officers in San Francisco.

When Should You File a Complaint of Police Misconduct?

A complaint should be filed when you feel that a member of the San Francisco Police Department has acted improperly in the course of their work. Whether the complaint is related to discourteous treatment, an unjustified arrest, unnecessary force or any other police action that you feel to be wrong, the Office of Citizen Complaints want to know about it.

A complaint filed with the Office of Citizen Complaints results in an investigation by that Office of the actions of the officers whose conduct is at issue and can result in disciplinary action by the Chief of Police or the Police Commission. A complaint filed with the Office of Citizen Complaints is not a complaint for injury or damages. It does not comply with the claims presentation requirements of Government Code Sections 905 and 915. If you wish to file a claim against the San Francisco Police Department to obtain damages you believe resulted from police misconduct, you should consult an attorney.

How to Make a Police Misconduct Complaint

The most effective way to file a complaint of police misconduct is to come into the OCC office. This will allow investigators to personally interview you and to do a thorough job of completing the initial, and one of the most important, phases of the investigation of a complaint.

Other ways a complaint may be filed are:

  • Complete and return the complaint form by mail. Forms are also available by calling the OCC and requesting that one be sent to you. They are available at all nine district police stations, and from various community groups. Once completed, the complaint form may be folded and dropped in any mailbox. The postage is prepaid.
  • Send the Office of Citizen Complaints a letter detailing the incident. Please be sure to include your address and your daytime and evening telephone numbers so we may contact you for additional information, if necessary.
  • Call the OCC. Complaints may also be filed over the telephone.
  • Go to a district police station. All district stations are open 24 hours a day. All police personnel are required to receive complaints courteously and to assist you with filing them.

You can learn more about filing a complaint as well as download complaint forms on the OCC website, http://www.sfgov.org/site/occ_index.asp?id=445.

The Controllers Office: Whistle Blower Complaints Program

The City and County of San Francisco's Whistleblower Complaints Program receives and tracks complaints about the quality and delivery of government services, wasteful and inefficient City government practices, misuse of government funds, and improper activities by City government officials, employees and contractors. The Controller's Office operates the program and receives complaints by telephone, email, and the Web. When appropriate, the Controller's Office investigates and attempts to resolve individual complaints.

To learn more visit their Web site at  http://sfcontroller.org/index.aspx?page=31

The Municipal Transportation Authority (MUNI)

To submit a comment or complaint about the MUNI system, please visit their Web site at http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mcontact/formcomm.htm. Claims against MUNI may not be filed online.

    Last updated: 11/7/2014 2:04:29 PM