Road Defects and San Francisco Public Works Liability

If you or a loved one was injured on a bicycle anywhere in Northern California, contact us today for a free consultation. Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only firm in Northern California to specialize exclusively in representing cyclists. Our attorneys have extensive experience working on bicycle cases and we offer our clients the superior service needed to represent their bicycle accident cases.

Can I sue the City of San Francisco for road defects that caused my bike accident?

Some conditions on San Francisco streets are inconsequential to the driver of a car, but they can pose a clear danger to a bicyclist. Potholes, sinkholes, excavations, missing or improperly placed storm drain covers, pavement cracks, uneven pavement and improperly functioning traffic lights can all translate into serious injuries to a bicyclist.

SFPW liability

Nearly all San Francisco street defects that are dangerous to bicyclists occur for one of two reasons. The first reason is heavy traffic and ordinary wear and tear. The second reason is improper maintenance. It’s the responsibility of San Francisco Public Works (SFPW) to fix road hazards, but like in any city, it’s sometimes impossible to get a crew out there immediately. Liability turns on whether the hazard was reported, when it was reported and whether SFPW made an effort to remedy the road defect within a reasonable time frame.

Improper repair work

If a contractor is performing repair work, it’s required to warn users of the roadway of any potential hazards. This is ordinarily done with signs, cones, barriers and flaggers. Injuries resulting from hazards created by contractors could result in lawsuits against both the contractor and the city.

The notice requirement

A bicyclist’s defective roadway lawsuit against the City of San Francisco is more complicated than other accident cases because different procedures must be followed. Pursuant to the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), specific notice of a personal injury claim against a city is required to be served within 180 days of an accident. Very few exceptions to this rule exist but we are aware of the exceptions. Failure to file a timely claim notice or the filing of a defective timely but defective claim notice can be cause for dismissal of a lawsuit.

Response time

The City of San Francisco is allowed 45 days after service of a claim notice to accept or reject a personal injury claim. They’re almost always rejected. Failure to respond to the claim notice within the 45 day period operates as a rejection. You then have six months after rejection to file your lawsuit.

Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today

It’s not unusual for a person claiming injury as a result of the negligence of a municipality to wait until the notice period has expired before seeing an attorney. You’ll want to consult with our offices right away after being injured in a bicycle accident that you attribute to a defective San Francisco roadway.

Get in Touch

Call us today for a free, confidential, no obligations, consultation.