council
Claims for Compensation
council
Claims for Compensation
If you have sustained an injury or suffered loss or damage because you think Council may have been negligent, you can submit a claim for compensation for the loss or damage.

Announcement

Claims for Compensation

If you have sustained an injury or suffered loss or damage because you think Council may have been negligent, you can submit a claim for compensation for the loss or damage. Submitting a claim against Council does not guarantee you will be entitled to compensation.

For your claim to be successful, you must establish that Council is liable for the alleged injury, loss or damage you have suffered.

For Council to be held liable for injury, loss or damage, the evidence must show that:

  • Council owed a duty of care;
  • Council breached that duty of care; and
  • the breach of duty of care resulted in injury, loss or damage.

Download and complete the Request for Compensation Form

Claim form:

Please do not submit a Claim for Compensation if:

  • you are making a claim with  your private insurer about this matter;
  • the incident happened in another municipality (check the address);
  • the incident happened on a road for which VicRoads is the responsible road authority (check the road);
  • you would like to make a complaint about a Council service;
  • you would like to report an incident (where no compensation is sought); or
  • you would like to report an issue (where a  hazard has been identified).

Form: Incident Notification Report Form

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Claims Process

On what grounds will my Claim for Compensation be accepted?

For your claim to be successful, you must establish that Council is liable for the alleged injury, loss or damage you have suffered.

Note: Council is under no statutory obligation or common law duty to automatically pay compensation because an incident occurred on Council-owned or managed land, or that an asset belongs to Council.

What information should I include in my Claim?

For your claim to be considered, you will have to be able to establish that an injury, damage or loss occurred due to Council’s negligence. You will also be required to provide clear evidence and supporting information to substantiate your claim. For example:

·        Council Reference Numbers

·        Photographs

·        Receipts

·        Quotes

·        Expert reports

·        Witness statements, etc.

Note: under Section 52 of the Wrongs Act 1958,the Claimant always bears the burden of proof. Therefore, neither Council, nor Council’s agents, will be able to provide any assistance regarding how to prove a claim against them.

Can I engage a lawyer to represent me?

It is your right to engage a solicitor at any time during the claims process. However, the decision to do so is entirely a matter for you and Council accepts no responsibility for legal costs you incur if a claim is denied. Issues of legal costs and the risks associated with litigation should be discussed with your legal advisor.

How are claims considered?

Council’s liability for injury, loss or damage is considered against the requirements of the Civil Liability Act 2003 and common law (law developed by judges using precedents).

For Council to be held liable for injury, loss or damage, it must be shown that Council owed a duty of care, that it breached that duty of care and that this resulted in injury, loss or damage.

Claims Investigation

How long do investigations take

All Claims for Compensation are assessed on their own merits, it may take some time to collate all the relevant information before an accurate decision on liability can be made. This process may take10-12 weeks. However, this time frame can be longer due to delays in obtaining information and other factors beyond the Claims Agent’s control.

Should I contact Council during the investigation process?

No, there's no need for you to contact us. Our Claims Agent will contact you if they have any queries or require further information.  Once the investigation is completed, our Claims Agent will contact you with a response to your claim.

Claims Outcome

After you submit your claim

Once you have completed and submitted your Claimfor Compensation form, our Claims Agent will be in touch with you regarding theconduct of your claim.

The Claims Agent will acknowledge receipt of yourclaim form via letter, which may outline relevant legislation that may have adirect impact on your claim. They may also require you to provide additionalinformation. The Claims Consultant’s details will also be made available.

IfCouncil does not accept my claim, what can I do?

If your claim is denied, a letter will be sent toyou explaining the reasons why. You will also be given the option to appeal thedecision via an internal review process. The details will be provided to youwith the denial letter. Alternatively, you may refer your claim directly toyour private insurer who may be able to assist you further.

Whathappens if Council accepts my Claim?

If your claim is successful, you will be required tosign a Deed of Release and payment will be arranged for the agreed amount.

Injury and damage relating to roads, footpaths and natural assets

Pedestrian and Personal Injury Claims

The courts have stated that councils are not legally responsible for incidents caused as a result of a defect which could have been seen by an ordinary person keeping a proper lookout. If your incident involved an obvious and visible defect, it is likely that Council will have no legal liability and your claim will be unsuccessful.

Incidents on Roads and Footpaths

It’s not possible to keep all roads and footpaths in a perfect condition all the time. Council maintains approximately 2,958 kilometres of road network within the shire and conducts regular inspections.  For more information on how Council manages its roads, view Council’s Road Management Plan.

The provisions of the Road Management Act 2004require an individual or company seeking compensation for property damage arising from the condition of the roadway or footpath to pay the first $1,580of any claim, regardless of liability. This includes damage to items such as cars, bikes and personal items. This threshold has been set by the State Government.

For claims of more than $1,580 Council as a road authority may be held liable if it has failed to meet the criteria set out in the Road Management Plan.

Trees and Tree Roots

Trees are natural assets that can behave unpredictably in certain weather conditions. If you are making a claim for tree impact damage from a Council street tree, it needs to be established that the loss was due some form of negligence or lack of care on the part of Council.

If you think a Council tree has caused tree root damage, you have a duty to provide evidence of the alleged root impact to private infrastructure as part of your Claim for Compensation. You may also be required to provide further information such as:

·        Contact details for the person reporting the damage. We may need to speak to you for further information and/or to arrange a site inspection.

·        Location of the alleged damage.

·        Location of the tree/s alleged to have caused the damage.

·        Details of any past root management works by Council.

Photos of the alleged damage.

Privacy

Council is committed to protecting your privacy and complies with our obligations under the Privacy and Data Protection Act2014.

The personal information requested on the Claim for Compensation form is collected by Council for the purpose of considering your claim or any other directly related purpose.

The personal information may also be disclosed to external organisations such as our Claims Agent, legal representatives, investigators or other consultants engaged by Council  to fully investigate and consider your claim. If a third party is implicated or involved, your claim and associated personal information may be re-directed to that entity for their response.

Council will not disclose your personal information to any other external party without your consent, unless needed or authorised by law.

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