Request for Compensation
Whilst Council is sympathetic to a person who has been injured or sustained loss, the fact that an incident has occurred does not automatically mean that Bathurst Regional Council will be liable to provide compensation.
You will be required to provide proof that supports your allegation that the loss or damage claimed has been caused by negligence on the part of our Council and/or its employees or agents.
For example, loss or damage can result from an act of nature such as wind or storm, which is beyond the control of Council. Likewise, there are times when injuries can be sustained due to a failure by an individual to take reasonable care to ensure their own wellbeing.
As establishing negligence can be time consuming and often difficult, you may wish to consider whether or not you hold a policy of insurance that provides cover for this type of loss, such as motor vehicle business or domestic insurance. You may find it quicker and easier to take advantage of that service policy and lodge a claim with your own insurer as, in most cases, the onerous test of proving negligence is not required.
Frequently asked questions:
How long does the process take?
The process of investigation and determination of negligence can take 4 to 8 weeks. Sometimes there are delays in obtaining information that is beyond our control (such as information from third parties, contractors, or witnesses). We endeavour to respond to your request for compensation as quickly as possible, but some claims are often quite complicated and we ask for your patience and co-operation during this time.
Why can't Council pay on compassionate grounds?
Whilst any incident is unfortunate, Council is unable to settle a claim unless a clear legal liability has been established. It is your responsibility to prove Council acted negligently.
Can I engage a lawyer to represent me?
Yes, it is your right to engage a lawyer at any time. However, the decision to do so is entirely a matter for you and we accept no liability for any legal costs that you may incur. The issue of legal costs and the risks associated with litigation is something you should discuss with your legal advisor.
What is negligence?
Broadly speaking, negligence involves a failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others. For public authorities such as Council, there may be additional relevant principles to consider under the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) if the claim relates to the carrying out of road work or the exercise of a regulatory function or statutory duty.
Why has Council asked for photographs?
In any public liability claim, the burden of providing proof of negligence rests with the person seeking compensation. Accordingly, you are required to provide evidence to support your allegation and one of the most effective ways to avoid confusion about the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident is through photographs. Without this information, we are unable to be sure we are investigating the correct issues. Photographs should be in colour and make note of the date and time the photograph was taken, and by whom.
What information do I need to provide/attach to the Request for Compensation Form?
If you have suffered a personal injury:
- A clear and comprehensive description of the incident;
- Photographs of the exact location where the injury took place;
- Photographs of the injury (if relevant);
- Receipts or invoices for any medical expenses related to the incident;
- Details of any claimed loss of earnings together with wage records showing details of your earnings and any sick leave pay which you have received;
- If you wish to make a claim for out of pocket expenses such as medical costs, medication, or lost wages, you will be required to provide documentation supporting your claim such as a letter from your employer, receipts, copies of paid accounts etc.
If you are claiming property damage:
- A clear and comprehensive description of the incident;
- Receipts and invoices relating to the repair or replacement of the damaged property and/or provide a minimum of 2 quotes for repair/replacement of the alleged damage;
- If the damage is to a vehicle, then provide the relevant vehicle details such as registration number, drivers details etc.;
- Photographs of the damaged property;
- Copies of any expert opinions, and/or any report to support your claim that the damage is due to negligence by Council;
- Details of all expenses incurred and state the specific compensation you are seeking – you will be required to provide documentation to substantiate all amounts claimed.
Claims relating to trees:
Roots or branches from Council trees can occasionally cause damage to fences, retaining walls, driveways, and vehicles. Council’s ownership of a tree does not create an automatic liability in the event of a tree causing damage. There must be some demonstrated act or omission of negligence by Council. When making a claim for damage to property from a tree that is on Council land, you may include (but are not limited to): photographs, plumbers reports, arborists report, and engineer's report. Evidence must be provided to Council for consideration before undertaking any repair work. Please note that under no circumstances are Council trees to be pruned or removed by residents. Contact Council’s recreation section on 6333 6111 for assistance with trees.
Sewer and stormwater damage:
For sewer and stormwater lines within your property, general maintenance and replacement due to ‘wear and tear’ are the responsibility of the landowner. This includes repairing or replacing damaged or aged pipes and clearing chokes.
If repairs cannot be performed without removing or damaging a tree that is on Council land, you will need to contact Council prior to any work commencing.
Claims relating to potholes and road defects:
Council is responsible for managing over 1150km of roads in our LGA. As part of our responsibilities Council conducts regular inspections of the road network, but also relies on the public to report any road defects by lodging a Customer Request with our Customer Service Officer on 6333 6111, or by email to email@example.com
The road pavement of State Roads is the responsibility of Transport for NSW. State roads include Vale Road, Bentinck Street, Gilmour Street/Sofala Road, Sydney Road, and the Mid Western, Mitchell and Great Western Highways.
Council’s liability for damage caused by any road hazards or potholes will be determined in accordance with the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).
Claims relating to garbage trucks:
Council provides a variety of waste collection, management, and disposal services. Kerbside waste collection services include red lid general waste, yellow lid co-mingled recycling, and lime green lid food and garden organics. The collection of general kerbside waste is by Council, and the collection of co-mingled recycling and food and garden organics is by JR Richards and Sons who can be contacted on 1300 725 415.
It is very unlikely that Council will be liable to pay compensation in the following circumstances:
- You are not able to establish the cause of the damage.
- The damage was caused by or resulting from a weather event.
- When Council is complying with its statutory duties under relevant legislation
- Damage caused by a contractor acting on behalf of the Council, e.g. roadworks, park maintenance etc – claims will be referred to the relevant contractor to respond directly.
- Incidents relating to the condition of pit lids or other infrastructure belonging to utility companies.
- It has been shown that your actions have contributed to causing the loss/damage.
Completing the Request for Compensation form and lodging it with Council is NOT an acceptance of liability by Council. All claims are assessed on their own merit, and in accordance with the relevant legislation (including the Civil Liability Act 2002), and rulings of the Courts.
If you wish to lodge a Request for Compensation, you can complete the attached editable pdf, or print the attached form, complete and provide to Council (with all appropriate documentation) and send to: Insurance & Claims Officer, Bathurst Regional Council, Private Mail Bag 17, Bathurst NSW 2795 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org