With recent flood-damaged roads proving hazardous for motor vehicles and cyclists across Queensland, leading personal injury law firm Slater and Gordon has urged all road users to take greater care on roads and footpaths, and to report any damage as soon as possible.
The firm had been contacted by a number of people seeking information about compensation for injuries and damage after recent flooding, but has warned that injuries to motorists and cyclists caused by damaged roads or footpaths won’t necessarily be compensable because road authorities may not be liable to pay compensation.
Public liability lawyer Barbara Fielding, said road users in Queensland need to be aware that they may have to pay for their own medical expenses and vehicle repair bills if they are injured due to a pothole or damaged road or footpath.
“In Queensland, the law says that the state government or local council is not liable in any legal proceedings that arise out of an alleged lack of maintenance, repair, or inspection of the road if the road authority was unaware of the defect that caused the damage,” Ms Fielding said.
“What this means is that, in the normal course of events if the authority is unaware of the damage, there will be no liability for them to pay compensation.
“However, the authority may be able to be held liable for damages if they were aware of the situation and did nothing to address it within a reasonable timeframe and within their ability in terms of resources.
“It’s reasonable to expect that there will be a lot of damaged roads after severe rain and flooding events in Queensland over the past week, which no doubt the authorities will be monitoring, but you can assist by reporting damage during the rebuilding process.
“In order to assist in keeping everyone as safe as possible, be aware that you may encounter the unexpected. Slow down, stay alert and report any road damage as soon as possible.
“The Queensland Government has a facility to report road damage by calling 13 19 40. Damage to local government roads will be referred to the relevant local authority,” she said.