Request for compensation
While we are sympathetic to a person who has been injured or sustained loss, the fact that an incident has occurred does not automatically mean Port Stephens 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 our 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 which provides cover for this type of loss such as motor vehicle or domestic insurance. You may find it quicker and easier to take advantage of that service and lodge a claim with your own insurer as, in most cases, the onerous test of proving negligence is not required.
The process of investigation and determination can take 6 to 8 weeks. There can de delays in obtaining information (such as information required from third parties, contractors or witnesses). While we aim to respond to claims as quickly as possible, claims brought in negligence can be complicated.
Understandably, we are unable to use ratepayers' money to pay compensation unless a clear legal liability has been established.
Yes, i 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 legal costs you incur. The issue of legal costs and the risks associated with litigation is something you should discuss with your legal advisor.
It is unlikely that Council will be liable to pay compensation under the following circumstances:
- you aren't able to establish the cause of the damage
- the damage was caused by a weather event
- when Council is complying with its statutory duties under relevant legislation
- damaged caused by tree roots when Council was not previously aware of the problem
- damaged caused by a contractor acting on behalf of Council, for example, roadworks, parks maintenance - these claims will be referred directly to the contractor to respond to
- incidents relating to the condition of the pit lids or other infrastructure belonging to utility companies.