Claims Against Wagga Wagga City Council

You can make a claim for compensation if you believe that we are legally responsible for personal injury or loss or damage to your property.

Claims Against Wagga Wagga City Council

Wagga Wagga City Council is committed to providing best practice for all our services and maintaining our assets in good working order. However, we understand that from time-to-time incidents may occur.

You are entitled to make a claim for compensation if you believe that we are legally responsible for personal injury or loss or damage to your property. Whilst we are sympathetic to injuries or losses, prior to seeking compensation, we recommend you familiarise yourself with the following information:

  • It is highly unlikely we will be liable to pay compensation for claims relating to potholes or any other hazard on our roads.
  • The fact that an incident has occurred on council owned/managed land does not automatically mean Council is liable.
  • All claims against Council are assessed in accordance with the Civil Liability Act 2002 (CLA). Which requires you (the claimant) to prove that negligence by Council has caused the loss or damage. In establishing liability, consideration is also given to whether your actions contributed to the loss/damage.
  • Establishing negligence can be time consuming and often difficult. If you hold an insurance policy which provides cover for this type of loss (i.e. motor vehicle or other general insurances), you may find it quicker and easier to lodge a claim with your own insurer as, in most cases, proving negligence is not required.
  • Once notified of the incident, Council will conduct an investigation.
  • The process can often take four (4) to eight (8) weeks to complete.
  • The onus lies on the claimant to provide sufficient evidence or proof to substantiate the claim and the timing of the investigation is often dependent on the supply of relevant evidence or information.
  • At the completion of the investigation, you will receive a letter notifying you of the outcome.
  • Completion and acceptance of a claim for compensation does not represent an admission of liability or a waiver of its rights on the part of Wagga Wagga City Council.
  • Loss or damage resulting from an act of nature such as wind or a storm is beyond our control.
  • There are also times when injuries are sustained due to failure by an individual to take reasonable care.
  • We will not cover damage caused by a contractor acting on behalf of Council. Such claims need to be made to the contractor directly.

As a Local Roads Authority, we are responsible for the footpaths within Wagga Wagga City Council. We conduct inspections of our footpath network and are continually assessing damaged areas and prioritising repair work.

When dealing with claims, we work within the framework of our legal obligations and responsibilities under the NSW Civil Liability Act 2002. Section 5F of the Act places a high onus on pedestrians to perceive and avoid obvious risks when walking outdoors. Accordingly, we may not be held liable for injury or damage arising from a footpath hazard unless we were aware of the hazard and had not addressed the risk within the reasonable limits of our resources.

If your vehicle has been damaged as a direct result of hitting a pothole, Council will generally not be liable for the cost of repairing that damage.

As part of our responsibilities, Council conducts regular inspections of the road network, but we also rely on the community to report any road defects. Potholes can form on roads for many varied reasons. For example, significant rainfall, and patterns of intense and prolonged wet weather, can often lead to road damage. Dry and hot weather can also contribute to the deterioration of our roads. Although we know these kinds of weather patterns can increase the number of potholes or road defects across our roads network, we do not know where potholes are, or how many there might be, until they are reported to us.

The existence of a pothole does not automatically make Council liable. For us to pay compensation, you would need to prove that we were negligent; for example, that we knew about the specific pothole, and failed to take action to repair it in a reasonable amount of time before your incident.

NSW Civil Liability Act 2002, Section 42 recognises that functions exercised by councils are limited by the financial and other resources that are reasonably available to the authority. Section 45 applies to our responsibility for damages resulting from potholes or any other hazards on our roads including footpaths.

Please note:

The road pavement of State roads is the responsibility of Transport for NSW, including Hume Highway, Olympic Highway and Sturt Highway.

Help avoid pothole damage - We also ask people to slow down and drive to conditions, particularly during and after heavy rain.

Unforeseen accidents, where a stone or hard object is thrown up from a mower or brush cutter, can happen. Council is sympathetic to these situations, however, the fact that an incident has occurred does not mean we are liable to provide compensation. Some companies, such as strata complexes and other organisations, arrange mowing and brush cutting works which are not at the direction of Council. In these instances, the third party would need to be contacted.

For a claim to be considered, evidence must be provided to us for consideration. Please include all relevant documentation and photographs of the alleged accident/incident to support your claim.

The onus lies on the claimant to provide sufficient evidence or proof to substantiate your claim.

Council considers trees to be significant capital assets. They are as much a part of the community infrastructure as roads and footpaths. You should not prune or remove public trees yourself. The NSW Local Government Act 1993 makes it an offence to interfere with a plant in a public place. Claims relating to public trees requires providing photographs, experts' reports (e.g. a report from an arborist or a plumber) to demonstrate our trees have directly caused the alleged damage. The onus lies on the claimant to provide sufficient evidence or proof to substantiate their claim.

Tree shedding and weather events are natural occurrences, and it is unlikely we will accept liability for claims relating to these. You might be able to claim through your own insurance for these events.

If you have a sewer or storm water issue, in the first instance, you should contact council to attend the site. Council will generally not pay compensation for plumbing services engaged by you.

Claims relating to sewer and stormwater requires supporting evidence including photographs and professional reports.

Importantly, Council will not pay compensation surrounding damage caused by improper use of an Overflow Relief Gully (ORG). The purpose of an ORG is to direct sewage away from a dwelling in the event of an overflow or blockage. Your ORG may not be able to perform its intended job properly if it has something sitting on top of it, such as pot plants, animals water bowl, or any obstruction that may prevent the grate from lifting with ease. Additionally, ensure the ORG has no obstruction around it that will cause sewage to pool and back up into the dwelling.

We provide a variety of waste collection, management, and disposal services. Council waste collection services include general waste (red lid), household recycling (yellow lid) and green waste (green lid). These bin collections are serviced by Council contractors. We do not cover damage caused by a contractor acting on behalf of Council. In these instances, you will need to contact the relevant contractor directly.

The CLA was enacted in 2002 due to the number of legal cases against public entities rapidly increasing. As a result of these legal cases, local councils found it hard to find insurance companies to provide coverage, and if they did, the cost of insurance was beyond councils' means.

The CLA is a way for people to take legal action against a council but only if they can prove a council has acted negligently or in breached the law. The CLA promotes the idea of personal responsibility. This means that a council does not have to warn you of an obvious risk.

An obvious risk is if a reasonable person knew about the risk or ought to (because of common knowledge) have known about the risk.

When dealing with claims, we work within the framework of our legal obligations and responsibilities under the NSW Civil Liability Act 2002. Section 5F of the Act, places a high onus on pedestrians and members of the public to perceive and avoid obvious risks.

It is highly unlikely we will be liable to pay compensation in the following circumstances:

  • If you have not completed the request for compensation form
  • You are not able to provide sufficient evidence to support the claim and to establish the cause of the damage
  • The damaged was caused by or resulted from a weather event.
  • When council is complying with its statutory duties under the relevant legislation
  • Damage that has been caused by a contractor acting on behalf of council for the repair, maintenance or rectification of roads, parks and gardens, construction, and/or other infrastructure. These claims will need to be referred directly to the appropriate contractor.
  • Situations where you have acted with negligence or where it has been shown or proven that your actions have contributed to the loss or damage.
  • Incidents sustained from lid pits or other infrastructure that belong to utility or telecommunication companies.
  • Damage was caused by defects when Council was not previously aware of the problem e.g. potholes, footpaths, tree roots etc.

Whilst Council is sympathetic if you are involved in an incident, we are unable to use rate payers' money to pay compensation unless a clear legal liability has been established.

  1. Consider if you are eligible for compensation; you may wish to seek legal advice. Council is not able to provide legal advice.
  2. If you have insurance, you should contact your insurer first. If they believe Council is at fault, they will take care of seeking compensation from us.
  3. Gather your evidence. You will need to substantiate the damage, loss, or injury. Evidence might include quotes, photos, videos, medical documents, reports, or witness statements.
  4. Submit your claim online or download the printable form.

Claim for Compensation Form

Wagga Wagga City Council reserves the right to recover all, or any costs involved that we have unnecessarily or unreasonably incurred while defending claims.

  • You will receive an acknowledgement email that will confirm claim receipt of your claim by Council.
  • Your claim will be assessed on a Without Prejudice basis.
  • You will be advised of the outcome of your claim in writing.
  • Assessing a claim for compensation is a complex process and relies on the information and evidence you provide. We respond to claims as quickly as possible and thank you for your cooperation and patience.