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What is a "notice of claim" in a Seattle bus accident?

The legal term "exhaustion of administrative remedies" is often used when dealing with claims that may arise against governmental entities. While this can have many varied meanings, in general it means that some process or another has been set out by law or regulation by which a person who feels he or she has been wronged by an entity or a government employee may be able to ask for redress of whatever grievance he or she may have. It is often the case that the law requires that this process be completed before any plaintiff may file a civil claim against the government in a court of competent jurisdiction.

So it is with Seattle and the transportation lines it operates. Basically, Seattle City Code Section 5.24.005 provides that no one can sue the city for monetary damages until a claim for damages is filed with the City Clerk. The city will investigate the claim, and may determine whether a settlement will be offered to the claimant. In any case, a civil lawsuit cannot be filed until at least 60 days after such a written claim has been made.

Because the municipal buses in Seattle are run by the city, this means that injuries suffered due to a bus accident involving a city bus are subject to this rule. Before an injured victim can sue the city for damages based upon the negligence of the city or one of its employees, that person will have to file a claim with the city itself. While this is pending, the victim will likely be responsible for his or her own medical expenses. While it is possible the city will determine that a settlement offer is warranted, it may also deny the claim if it feels that it is not liable.

Even if a payment is offered by the city, it may be a good idea get more information about these types of claims to get a better idea whether the offer of payment by the city is commensurate with what might be recovered in a lawsuit, and whether the risk of receiving no compensation is justified. Because injuries suffered in bus accidents can be severe and affect victims for the rest of their lives, it is important that they understand the process necessary to recover compensation.

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