Insurance Claims Against Council

Legislation

Before Council is obliged to pay compensation for any injury, loss or damage suffered, it must be established that this injury, loss or damage was caused as a result of Council's negligence. 

The legislation that applies to Council’s responsibility for damages resulting from potholes or any other hazards on its roads is the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) (the Act). The Act sets out a number of principles to be employed in determining whether is liable for injury, loss or damage suffered by road users. For example, section 45 of the Act provides non-feasance protection for roads authorities.

“A roads authority is not liable in proceedings for harm arising from a failure of the authority to carry out road work, or to consider carrying out road work, unless at the time of the alleged failure the authority had actual knowledge of the particular risk the materialisation of which resulted in the harm.”

The principles concerning Council's management of resources and responsibilities as a Roads Authority are set out under section 42 of the Act:

"The functions required to be exercised by the authority are limited by the financial and other resources that are reasonably available to the authority for the purpose of exercising those functions.

The function required to be exercised by the authority are to be determined by reference to the broad range of its activities and not merely by reference to the matter to which the proceedings relate.

If you are insured privately for the damage or injury sustained, such as motor vehicle insurance, you may wish to report the claim to them. If covered they will settle your loss and then pursue recovery against the Council on your behalf.  

Council recommends that you seek professional legal advice if you are unsure about whether you are able to claim for your loss or damage.

Potholes

Council maintains 920 kilometres of road network within its Local Government Area. We also conduct regular inspections of the road network and are continually assessing and prioritising repair work.

Council may not be liable for damages arising from potholes and other hazards unless Council was aware of the pothole and has been negligent in not addressing the risk within Council’s ability in terms of resources.

Council recommends that you seek professional legal advice if you are unsure about whether you are able to claim for your loss or damage.

Trees

Overview

Before Council is obliged to pay compensation for any injury, loss or damage suffered, it must be established that this injury, loss or damage was caused as a result of Council's negligence. 

Sewer and Storm Water Pipes

Sewer and storm water pipes are assets of the property owner and therefore the property owners responsibility to maintain.

If a blockage occurs in your private sewer or storm water pipe, you may need to engage a licensed plumber to fix the problem.

Blocked sewer lines may be caused by tree roots, inappropriate material put down the drains, sections of pipe collapsing, ground subsidence, debris or siltation.

Tree roots are not known to enter pipes which are well maintained. If tree roots have entered a pipe this is usually the result of the roots seeking water that is available because of the actual deterioration of the pipe (due to age/quality etc) or the failure of the seals joining the pipes.

For more information on public trees and your property, refer to the Operational Procedure for the Management of trees on Public Land.

Council recommends that you seek professional legal advice if you are unsure about whether you are able to claim for your loss or damage.

Driveways and Private Structures

Driveways and private structures are assets of the property owner and therefore the property owners responsibility to maintain and repair.

Where property owners believe that public tree roots are damaging or have the potential to cause damage to driveways and structures, the property owner should contact the Council as soon as possible to allow the Council to take appropriate action concerning the public tree.

For more information on public trees and your property, refer to the Operational Procedure for the Management of trees on Public Land.

Council recommends that you seek professional legal advice if you are unsure about whether you are able to claim for your loss or damage.

Making a Claim

Council will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident to establish whether or not Council has any legal liability.

Completion and acceptance of the claims for compensation form does not represent an admission of liability or a waiver of its rights on the part of Council.

Your claim will be subject to investigation and assessed on its own merits.

We will endeavour to respond to claims as quickly as possible. However the processing of claims is dependent on the supply of relevant information and, therefore, assessment of your claim may take some time to complete.

If you wish to make a claim against Council, there are 2 options:

1) Make a claim against your own insurance policy - for a Property or Motor Vehicle Claim

Your Insurer may consider seeking recovery against Council. Please note that this option may result in an initial upfront payment to your insurer for the applicable excess. In general, insurance companies will pursue Council for reimbursement where they consider Council to be liable. In such cases, the excess amount may be waived. You should discuss this with your insurer prior to lodging a claim with Council.

2) Make a claim directly to Council - for Personal Injury or a Property or Motor Vehicle Claim

If you are seeking compensation directly from Council for injury, loss or damage arising from an incident, please complete the ‘Claim for Compensation’ form on the right hand side of your screen and provide photographs and documentation as required.

Completion and acceptance of the claim for compensation form does not represent an admission of liability or a waiver of its rights on the part of Council.

What Happens Now

Council will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident to establish whether or not the Council has any legal liability.

Completion and acceptance of the claim for compensation form does not represent an admission of liability or a waiver of its rights on the part of Council.

Your claim will be subject to investigation and the findings assessed on their own merits.

Council will endeavour to respond to claims as quickly as possible. However the processing of claims is dependent on the supply of relevant information and, therefore, assessment of your claim may take some time to complete.