San Francisco to Charge Auto Accident-Causing Motorists a Cleanup Fee

San Francisco to Charge Auto Accident-Causing Motorists a Cleanup Fee

By mid-October, San Francisco will be the first major city in California to implement what is referred to as a “first-responder fee.” According to an article on, the controversial fee charges accident-causing motorists up to $500 for cleanup related to the crash, recovering the cost of a fire department cleanup. Only a motorist who is found at fault will be charged the fee, not all motorists involved. The goal is to charge the driver’s insurance company.

Currently, the San Francisco Fire Department has a $13 million deficit. The first-responder fee is expected to raise about $626,000 a year, closing the deficit within a few years of implementation.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the first-responder fee in July. Other cities across the state and nationwide are adopting, debating, and implementing similar fees. Currently Sacramento is deliberating putting into action a similar penalty for accident-causing motorists. In southern California, Huntington Beach endorsed a fee program in August targeting tourists only, but the City Council rescinded the fee in late September after being flooded with complaints.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 6 million car crashes reported to law enforcement in 2005, resulting in over 2.7 million injuries.

The criminal justice system can punish the negligent driver in a California car accident, but cannot do anything to compensate victims for injuries sustained in the crash. Often, victims are saddled with costly medical expenses, hospital bills, vehicle repair, or even a life-changing injury. This can be devastating, resulting in a loss of income for the individual or family, loss of future wages as well as dealing with the emotional and painful suffering a serious injury causes.

If you are injured in a Northern California car accident and believe it was because of another driver’s negligence, you may want to speak with the San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP. Our highly skilled Northern California auto accident attorneys will work to hold the negligent parties who caused the accident and your injury accountable, and will seek compensation for damages on your behalf. For more information please call us today at (800) 900-0863. We offer free consultations.