Request for Compensation

Form

Brimbank City Council is committed to the health and safety of our community, but sometimes unexpected events can lead to injury or loss.

If you have sustained an injury, loss or damage and believe there has been negligence on the part of Brimbank City Council, you can submit a request for compensation.

Compensation requests sent to Council are treated as public liability claims. These claims can be complex and may take several weeks to assess, therefore, the quickest way to resolve your claim may be to go through your private insurer. 

If you want to make a claim directly to Council, complete the request process explained below.

Submit your request for compensation

Council uses Echelon Claims Management Services to assess claims for compensation based on liability. Echelon are an independent third party that objectively assesses liability on Council’s behalf.

Before you submit your claim, please make sure you are familiar with the claims process as well as your responsibility to prove your claim. Any correspondence you provide must also note Council’s incident / reference number.

Complete the Request for Compensation form

Note that submitting this form doesn’t guarantee compensation and that Council isn’t obligated to automatically pay compensation just because an incident happened on Council land or in connection with a Council asset.

Why do i need to provide proof?

The responsibility for proving a claim rests with the person making the request for compensation. Claimants need to prove that there was damage caused by Council. 

Council can only accept claims and make payments based on the information you provide and where our investigation determines legal responsibility.

I have submitted my claim form-what next?

Echelon claims management services will contact you regarding your claim and acknowledge receipt via email or letter.

All future correspondence regarding your claim will be through Echelon, who will independently and objectively assess Council's liability on Brimbank’s behalf.

Your Privacy 

Council  takes your privacy seriously and will comply with all obligations under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 in handling your claim.

Personal information collected during the assessment process may be disclosed to external organisations such as legal representatives, Echelon Claims Services, insurers, or other consultants to fully investigate and consider your claim.

Does Council accept claims for reimbursement on compassionate grounds?

No. Council can only accept claims for reimbursement where the facts from our investigation demonstrate that Council has liability. We have an obligation to ensure the proper use of Council funds, including ratepayer contributions. Therefore, all claims are investigated on the basis of liability before Council can make any payment

How are claims considered?

Claims are assessed according to liability.For Council to be held liable for injury or property damage, it must be shown that Council owed a duty of care, that it breached that duty of care, and that this resulted in damage.

How long do investigations take?

Once your claim has been lodged with Echelon, your request will be assessed upon its own merits, based on the information you provide.

In some circumstances it may take as long as 8 weeks to collate all the relevant information to make an assessment on liability. However, this timeframe can be longer due to delays in obtaining information and other factors.

Should I contact Council during the investigation process?

Once your claim is lodged, Echelon will be your main point of contact.  Your Echelon claim’s assessor will contact you with a response regarding your claim.

If my claim request is not accepted, what can i do?

Echelon objectively and independently assesses claims on Council’s behalf. If your claim is denied, a letter will be sent to you explaining the reasons why your claim was refused. You will also be given the option to appeal the decision via a review process.

If you decide to appeal the decision, please be sure to consider the reasons provided in the letter of denial. Your appeal position may be strengthened if you provide additional information and proof to support your claim. Alternatively, you may refer your claim directly to your private insurer.

If council accepts my claim, what do i do?

If your claim is successful, you will be advised of this including any  information required by you. You will be required to sign a Deed of Release*. Once signed and returned, payment will be arranged for the agreed amount.  

*A Deed of Release is a legal requirement that enables Council to make payment and settle the matter.

Can i engage a lawyer to represent me?

The decision to engage a legal representative is a matter for you to decide. However, Council accepts no responsibility for any legal costs you incur if a claim is denied. Issues of legal costs and the risks associated with litigation are something that should be discussed with your legal advisor.

Pedestrian and personal injury claims

I’ve been injured. Can I be compensated for this?

Any requests for compensation are assessed for negligence and in accordance with Council’s legal duties. The courts have stated that councils are not legally responsible for incidents caused as a result of a defect that 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. Council cannot pay compensation just because an incident occurred on Council land or in connection with an asset that belongs to them. 

If you making a personal injury claim, please be sure to understand the information required to submit your claim and your duty to provide the necessary proof such as a photo of the precise location where the incident occurred (if possible, mark the photo with an 'X' where the incident took place).

 

Roads and footpaths

My incident occurred because of a hazard on the road or footpath. Does this mean Council should pay my claim?

Brimbank City Council is responsible for inspecting and maintaining approximately 900 kilometres of road network and 1500 km of footpaths within its Local Government Area. We do this in accordance with the standards set out in our Road Management Plan (RMP).

We’re committed to maintaining all roads and footpaths to the highest standards possible, but it is not possible to keep all roads and footpaths in perfect condition all the time, also unexpected events can result in significant deterioration in a short period of time.

Council may not be liable for damages arising from potholes and other hazards unless Council was aware of the problem, i.e. pothole has been negligent in not addressing the risk within Council’s ability in terms of resources and Road Management Plan (RMP).

Damage caused by trees

No strict liability exists where the owner of a tree is automatically responsible for any resultant damage or loss. Therefore, all requests for compensation must consider whether Council owed a duty of care to you (if a duty was owed at all), that it breached that duty of care and that this resulted in damage. In cases where Council has acted reasonably and adhered to all proactive and reactive tree inspections, Council cannot be found liable for the claimed loss.

Tree Impact Damage

Trees are natural assets that can behave unpredictably in certain weather conditions that are beyond council's control.

If a Council tree has caused some form of property damage, it must be established that the loss resulted from negligence or insufficient care on the part of the Council and not due to a natural event, or ‘Force Majeure’, which can be defined as a circumstance beyond the reasonable control of Council that could not have been prevented.

As the liability investigation process can take up to eight weeks to complete, the most efficient and straightforward route to resolving your claim is to go through your private insurer, who can pursue full recovery through the Brimbank City Council if liability is proven.

Tree root damage

Tree growth is strongly influenced by below-ground conditions, including soil type and weather conditions.

If you believe tree roots from a Council tree is damaging your property, your claim will be assessed on its own merits based on the information you provide.

Please read through the following information before you submit your claim.

Note: The removal of a tree can only be considered as a last resort, when all other options have been assessed.

Tree root damage –  structural damage claims

Tree root damage can occur when roots exert pressure to structures such as concrete pavements, walls, underground pipes and buildings with inadequate foundations.  

Structures such as paving and walls, can crack due to many reasons. Therefore, a claimant alleging that a council tree is causing damage to their property must provide sufficient proof to support is required to prove their allegations.

To allow council to investigate further, please provide the following information, in addition to the Request for compensation form:

  • Exact location of the tree/s alleged to have caused the damage.
  • Photos of the alleged damage and roots (if possible).
  • Investigations of soil conditions and roots present (size, depth amount identification) in the area of damage (photos).

When alerted to a tree root concern, Council will investigate the report. If deemed appropriate, Council, may be required to take action to mitigate a tree root nuisance.

 

Tree root damage - blockages to storm water pipes

Tree roots can enter into sewer and storm water pipes if they are already faulty, cracked or damaged.

Council is responsible for the local stormwater drainage network including pipes and pits. However, Council is not responsible for private stormwater drainage pipes connecting to legal point of discharge (LPOD). The responsibility for maintaining, repairing, and replacing storm water pipes lies with the property owner up the legal point of discharge or the connection point for sewer systems as shown in the diagram below.

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Storm water blockages that are before the legal point of discharge (LPOD) and on Council land, such as under a footpath, required the completion of a Consent for Works Within a Council Road Reserve application. To do this please follow the link to obtain the relevant form. Once Council consent has been provided, home owners can then liaise with the relevant professional to carry out works.*

It must be noted that generally tree roots can only enter into sewer and storm water pipes if they are already faulty, cracked or damaged which encourages tree root entry and growth. However, if you are of the view that Council's street tree has caused a blockage, you will be required to provide evidence that supports your claim along with a completed Request for Compensation form.

The proof you provide can be in the form of:

  • Clear details of the damaged pipe, including the material the pipe is made from and location of the alleged damage. An 'X’ marking the spot can assist with this.
  • Clear images and/or CCTV drain inspection footage of the damage, including the point where you alleged the tree roots entered (where possible).*

*In situations where the origin of the roots is unclear, root identification by a suitably qualified person may also be required. In these situations, Brimbank City Council offer residents the opportunity to inspect pipes and any offending tree roots during a soft excavation prior to repair works being undertaken. This may provide you with the necessary poof to support your claim. If you are requesting Council attend to inspect, you should provide at least one business day notice to arrange the relevant person to attend. Please contact council on 9249 4000.

 

Upon receipt of a Request for Compensation, Council may carry out further internal investigations in relation to the tree and any potential works required on a case by case basis.

 

Tree Leaves 

While we acknowledge the inconvenience that leaf litter may cause, it is important to note that trees are also widely recognised for the many benefits they provide to the community in the form of cleaner air, healthier lifestyles and social cohesion. Trees are also recognised as natural assets that enhance the visual appeal of our City and play an important role in Council's broader sustainability goals to reduce the effects of climate change.

Leaf litter is a part of a tree's natural biological processes, therefore, they will, from time to time, drop leaves, branches, flowers and fruit.

Brimbank City Council’s Tree Policy aims to strike a balance between the benefits of having a healthy urban forest and addressing the challenges that may arise, such as leaf litter. For more information please read Tree Policy.

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Last updated: 8 July 2024 - 3:29pm