Motorists get little compo from State for bad roads
DOZENS of WA motorists sought tens of thousands of dollars for damage to their cars caused by potholes, loose stones and road debris last year — but only seven got any cash.
The successful compensation claims to Main Roads ranged from $253 for a damaged light while driving in Gidgegannup to more than $51,000 for mechanical damage caused to a vehicle by debris (a piece of asphalt) on Douglas Avenue in Kensington.
Most of the more than 120 claims were either rejected or referred to other departments, agencies or contractors.
A number of compensation claims have also been lodged with Main Roads over the past two weeks, with wet weather resulting in 37 reported potholes on metropolitan roads.
In recent days, Main Roads has reported potholes on Great Eastern Highway between Mundaring and Sawyers Valley, Reid Highway at Beechboro Road North and near Tonkin Highway and Mitchell Freeway near the Narrows Bridge.
A Main Roads spokeswoman said road authorities were not liable for damage or loss from a road hazard, unless it was aware of the hazard at the time of the incident.
“We have a common law duty of care to maintain the road network under our control,” she said.
“This does not mean keeping roads in perfect condition all the time, nor can we be aware of hazards the moment they arise.
“It does mean we should respond to road hazards that we have prior knowledge of, within a reasonable period of time.”
The Main Roads website says the burden of proof rests with the road user.
“You will have to show that we failed to take reasonable steps to maintain the road network to prevent foreseeable risks of harm,” it says.
“You will also have to show that our actions (or inactions) caused the incident, caused you to suffer loss and that such loss was foreseeable to us. If we can demonstrate that we took all reasonable steps to maintain the road appropriately, we will not be legally liable for your damages or loss.”