Types of Claims
The following information is about some common types of claims, this will help you to determine if you should make a claim.
If any property that is covered by your insurance is damaged by an action of Council, we recommend that you report it to your insurer. If they believe Council is at fault, they may seek compensation from us. Be aware that you may have to pay an excess, or meet other rules set by your insurer. Talk to them if you’re unsure.
If you don't have insurance, you may be eligible to lodge a property damage claim with Council.
If your claim is about an injury or damage caused by the condition of a footpath on a roadway (such as paver or concrete misalignment) you will need to establish that Council had actual knowledge of the problem and had neglected to fix it.
We conduct regular inspections of the footpath network and are continually assessing the damaged areas and prioritising repair work.
Not all deviations in footpaths require repair. Council has standards for when a repair is required.
When a repair is necessary, factors including how long we could reasonably take to fix a problem are taken into account.
If your claim is related to a utility access point in a footpath or road you will need to contact the relevant utility provider ie: Water, Sewer, Gas, Electricity, Communications etc.
Should your claim relate to an injury on a driveway, Council will generally not accept any liability for any loss or damage.
Section 142 of the Roads Act 1993, states that the owner of the property is required to maintain the driveway in a satisfactory state of repair.
Roads and Potholes
Potholes and hazards can form on roads at any time for many different reasons. For example, significant rainfall, and patterns of intense and prolonged wet weather, can often lead to road damage.
Council regularly inspects its roads and assets, and we schedule repair work to occur as soon as we reasonably can. However, it’s possible that a new road defect has occurred that we don’t yet know about.
When you report a new road defect to us, we will prioritise and attend to it as soon as we can, but please understand that it’s not always possible to repair potholes and hazards immediately.
Roads Authorities including Councils, cannot be held liable for everything that happens on their roads. It is extremely rare for Councils to be liable to pay for damage caused as a result of hitting a pothole.
The following information will assist in understanding the reasons why claims will usually not be paid:
- The main obligation is on the road user to drive/ride to the conditions and keep a look out.
- Potholes are generally caused by a combination of weather and heavy traffic.
- Council has immunity under legislation for claims arising in circumstances where Council had no actual knowledge of the pothole or lacked the resources to repair the pothole quickly and/or permanently.
- Potholes cannot be permanently repaired when they are wet as the road base needs to be completely dry.
- Negligence needs to be established in order for a claim to succeed.
- The onus of establishing negligence rests with the person making the claim.
- The onus of proving the cost is also upon the claimant.
Some of the roads in the Camden LGA are managed by Transport for NSW. We will not accept claims for damage that occurred on roads that are managed by Transport for NSW.
In the Camden area this includes:
- Narellan Road
- Camden Bypass
- Camden Valley Way (from Narellan north eastwards)
- The Northern Road
- Bringelly Road
- Old Hume Highway (from Camden Bypass southwards to Remembrance Driveway)
Drains and Pipes
Property owners are responsible for maintaining the drainage system and pipes, including stormwater and sewerage, between your property and the Sydney Water Mains (which will usually be under the middle of the road). This even applies to parts of your system that run under public land.
If pipes or drainage systems become blocked due to tree roots or other objects, it will usually be up to the property owner to deal with this. However, you may be able to make a claim in some cases such as:
- Your drains have been damaged by an action of Council – such as road or footpath works that inadvertently break pipes; or
- If the damage has been caused by a problem with Council-managed drains.
For further information on maintenance of drains and pipes please refer to Sydney Water web page.
Tree Roots in Pipes
Tree roots entering pipes is not uncommon, this generally only occurs if the pipe is already damaged or breaking down and reaching the end of its useful life. As it is up to property owners to maintain their drainage systems, in many cases Council won’t accept liability when the roots of Council-owned trees enter private drains.
If you're claiming for damage related to a pipe, try to include one or more of the following:
- A copy of the sewer services plan. You can find this on Sydney Water's Tap In website or Before You Dig Australia (BYDA).
- Recent aerial images from Google Maps (or similar) clearly showing your property, structures and vegetation, as well as surrounding neighbours.
- A report from a licensed plumber or other suitably qualified service providers. This should include:
- Their business name and details.
- The address of the property they inspected, and a description of the inspection methods they used.
- Details about the type and age of pipes, their condition, factors that contributed to any damage, and options to repair it.
- A clear plan of the property's sewer and stormwater, showing the location of all pipes, flow directions, the location of the damage, and entry points used for inspection.
- Camera footage of the system that shows the damage or blockage.
We look after many thousands of trees on public land across Camden. We regularly maintain trees to keep them in a safe condition. We also respond to all reports of trees that are unsafe or might become unsafe.
However, we can’t inspect every tree on public land, and trees or branches can fall at any time – even from healthy trees. Weather events like storms or high winds can also cause trees and branches to fall suddenly.
Council is not automatically liable for damage caused by trees or branches that fall unexpectedly or because of weather. Council will only pay compensation where the damage was the result of a negligent act by Council.
In order to make a successful claim about damage caused by a Council-owned tree, a claimant will need to prove that Council knew there was a problem with the tree and was negligent in dealing with it.
See the ‘Drains and Pipes’ section above for information about tree roots entering drains.
Lodge a Claim
Please ensure you have read Council's Information on Claims for Loss or Damage before submitting you claim.
Click Here to submit a Claim - Camden Council Liability Claim Form