Sidewalks in the City of San Diego

The City of San Diego currently has approximately 5,000 miles of sidewalk within its boundaries. These sidewalks run along streets, near parks, and outside of buildings and business.

2015 City of San Diego Sidewalk Assessment

In 2015, the City of San Diego undertook an assessment of its nearly 5,000 miles of sidewalk. The 2015 City of San Diego Sidewalk Assessment found approximately 80,000 areas of sidewalk that were in need of repair. These areas needing repair were as follows:

  • Uplift/Faulting (0.5″ to 1.5″)- 40,039 locations
  • Uplift/Faulting (>1.5″ to 3″)- 13,982 locations
  • Uplift/Faulting (>3″)- 7,871 locations
  • Tree-Damaged Sidewalk- 7,585 locations
  • Subsided Sidewalk- 7,425 locations
  • Cracked Sidewalk- 1,480 locations

Additionally, the City of San Diego assessed curb ramps within its sidewalks and determined that nearlyhalf of curb ramps were non-compliant:

  • Compliant- 21,377 curb ramps
  • Non-Compliant- 20,966 curb ramps

What is a Dangerous Sidewalk?

A sidewalk can be dangerous based upon many factors, including any unsafe change in elevation (raised portions), cracks in the sidewalk, tree damage, non-compliant ramps, or visibility issues. At Haffner & Morgan we often work with experienced safety and human factors experts and expert arborists to determine whether a sidewalk is dangerous as a matter of law.

Who is Responsible For a Dangerous Sidewalk?

Generally the City of San Diego is responsible for maintenance of its sidewalks. However, due to budget constraints, unfortunately many areas of sidewalks in the City of San Diego are in a dangerous condition and pose a substantial hazard to pedestrians exercising due care.

California Government Code section 835 provides as follows:

"Except as provided by statute, a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition of its property if the plaintiff establishes that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred, and that either:

(a) A negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of his employment created the dangerous condition; or

(b) The public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition under Section 835.2 a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition."

In some cases, owners of property adjacent to a sidewalk may be responsible for any dangerous condition of sidewalk. It is important to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the nuanced liability of dangerous sidewalk cases to ensure that all responsible parties are included in a claim and/or lawsuit.

Timeline to File a Claim

The California Tort Claims Act (Govt. Code §§ 810-996.6) requires that you must file within six months of the incident a claim for personal injury, damage to personal property, or wrongful death. If you fail to file a claim meeting the requirements of the California Tort Claims Act with any and all responsible government entities within six months of the incident, you will likely be barred from pursuing a claim.

What Happens if Your Claim is Denied?

After filing a timely claim under the California Tort Claims Act, the government entity has 45 days after receiving your claim to take action. (See Govt. Code § 912.4). If the agency takes no action within 45 days after you file the claim, the claim is deemed denied and you may file a lawsuit against the government entity. (See Govt. Code § 912.4).

When Do You Have to File a Lawsuit After a Denied Claim?

If a government entity denies a claim, you must file a lawsuit within six months from the date of the postmark or personal delivery of the rejection. In other situations, if a government entity does not timely respond to your claim, you may have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit against the responsible government entity.

Government Code section 945.6 (a) provides as follows:

"(a) Except as provided in Sections 946.4 and 946.6 and subject to subdivision (b), any suit brought against a public entity on a cause of action for which a claim is required to be presented in accordance with Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 900) and Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 910) of Part 3 of this division must be commenced:

(1) If written notice is given in accordance with Section 913, not later than six months after the date such notice is personally delivered or deposited in the mail.

(2) If written notice is not given in accordance with Section 913, within two years from the accrual of the cause of action. If the period within which the public entity is required to act is extended pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 912.4, the period of such extension is not part of the time limited for the commencement of the action under this paragraph."

Given the often complicated and nuanced statute of limitation situations involved with government claims, it is extremely important to consult with an attorney with extensive experience handling government claims.

Dangerous Sidewalks in Other Cities

In addition to dangerous sidewalk claims against the City of San Diego, the attorneys at Haffner & Morgan, LLP have extensive experience handling dangerous sidewalk cases against many other cities and government entities in the greater San Diego area.

Contact Us Today

If you think you may have a viable case due to a dangerous condition of sidewalk, contact the attorneys at Haffner & Morgan, LLP today for a free consultation.

What is Med-Pay?

When you purchase automobile insurance you have the option to include medical payments coverage or "Med-Pay" to your policy. Often times you have the option to choose how much Med-Pay you want to add to your policy, frequently ranging from $1,000.00 upwards of $10,000.00 depending on the insurance company. The purpose of Med-Pay is to pay medical bills incurred in an accident.

How Does Med-Pay Work?

Usually Med-Pay is no fault, meaning that you can access Med-Pay whether or not you are deemed to be at fault for an accident. The Med-Pay process works as follows: if you are injured in an accident you can submit bills for treatment to your own insurance company for payment. For example, if you went to a chiropractor for injuries suffered in an auto accident, you could submit the chiropractic bills to your own insurance carrier for payment instead of having to pay these same bills out of pocket.

Do I Have to Pay Back Med-Pay?

Depending on the insurance policy, you may have to reimburse your insurance company for any Med-Pay benefits that the company pays out. However, reimbursement is not until the end of the case, which allows you to get treatment without having to pay out of pocket until the case is resolved. Other times, it may be possible to negotiate the amount or percentage of the Med-Pay that is reimbursable.

What if I Have Health Insurance?

If you have health insurance and seek care that would be covered through your health insurance, you may not be able to use your Med-Pay benefits. In such cases, the Med-Pay will be secondary to any health insurance benefits. However, for some types of medical care such as chiropractic care, which is generally not covered under many health insurance plans, you may be able to utilize your Med-Pay benefits.

Other Med-Pay Scenarios

The attorneys at Haffner & Morgan are very experienced handling other Med-Pay scenarios, such as determining whether a business has Med-Pay if you suffer a slip or trip and fall injury. In addition, we have extensive experience handling other Med-Pay scenarios such as if you are a passenger in a vehicle that is rear ended, the driver has Med-Pay, and you have Med-Pay under your own automobile policy. Contact us today to see if we can help you with your injury accident, including making sure that you utilize any and all available Med-Pay benefits.

In California, the minimum requirements for automobile liability insurance are $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident. This means that in many cases you may only be able to recover a maximum of $15,000 from a defendant’s automobile liability insurance. Some Californians also may qualify for California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program which means that they only have $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident liability coverage. In other situations a person, in violation of California law, may not have insurance for you to recover from. So what do you do if your case is worth more than a minimal policy or if the defendant doesn’t have insurance?

Minimal Policy Situation

If a person has a minimal $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident policy (and your case is worth more than $15,000), the first step is recovering the policy maximum from the defendant’s automobile liability insurance. The attorneys at Haffner & Morgan are extremely experienced in recovering policy limits in as fast as a time frame as possible. In many situations we may be able to recover minimal policy limits before you are done treating with your doctors.

What Happens After a Minimal Policy Limits Recovery or If the Defendant Does Not Have Insurance?

After a minimal policy limits recovery or if the Defendant does not have insurance, the next step is to look at your own automobile insurance policy to determine whether or not you have Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM). Automobile insurance companies offer this coverage to insure yourself from a Defendant either having a minimal policy or not having insurance at all. When you have this coverage you ensure an amount of coverage (at your choosing) that will apply, at minimum, in any accident (that you are not at fault), regardless of the insurance status or limits of the Defendant.

Uninsured Motorist Scenario

If the Defendant does not have insurance, and you have UM Coverage, the next step is to initiate a claim against your own insurance company. In this scenario your case will proceed in a similar fashion to if you had a claim directly against a liable party. However, unlike in a claim directly against a liable party, your case will never go to trial.

In a UM claim, the ultimate resolution (if the case does not settle) is through a binding arbitration. A binding arbitration generally is a one day, or half day, "mini trial" where an experienced attorney or retired judge ultimately renders a binding decision. In a binding UM arbitration the arbitrator effectively acts as both the judge and/or jury.

Underinsured Motorist Scenario

If a Defendant has a minimal or insufficient policy, and you recovery the policy limits, the next step is to also initiate a claim against your own insurance company through your UIM coverage. Like an Underinsured Motorist claim, the ultimate resolution in a UIM claim is also through a binding arbitration. In the case of a UIM claim, your own auto insurance carrier will get a credit for whatever amount was paid out in the initial claim. For example, if you had $100,000 in UIM coverage and you recovered the policy limits of $15,000 from a Defendant, you would have $85,000 maximum to recover against your own UIM auto policy.


Even if a Defendant has a minimal insurance policy or does not have insurance, you may be able to recover through your own UM/UIM automobile insurance policy. The attorneys at Haffner & Morgan have successfully handled many UM/UIM cases and obtained extremely favorable results via both settlement and after arbitration. Contact us today for a free consultation.