This guide outlines the process for submitting a claim for compensation if you think we are responsible for causing damage to your property or car.
The information provided in this guide is intended to be general in nature and should not replace independent legal advice tailored to meet your individual circumstances. Whether or not you are entitled to receive compensation from us will depend on a broad range of factors and considerations. Strict statutory time limits apply to making a claim for compensation. Your legal representative can provide you with more information about what time limits apply to personal injury, property damage and other types of claims for compensation.
What you need to know - The Civil Liability Act 2002 (WA)
We have a common law duty of care to maintain the road network under our control. 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.
As our maintenance contractors cannot be everywhere all the time, the Civil Liability Act 2002 includes a provision (section 5Z) which states that road authorities such as Main Roads are not liable for damage or loss arising from a road hazard, unless at the time of the incident the road authority had actual knowledge of the hazard.
If you think we have failed to meet our duty of care to you as a road user, then the law provides that the burden of proof rests with you. In other words, you will have to prove your claim.
You will have to show that we failed to take reasonable steps to maintain the road network to prevent foreseeable risks of harm. 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.
You will have to substantiate the extent of your loss by providing independent evidence (like receipts, photos etc).
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.
Claims we probably won’t accept
- damage due to debris (if it occurs in the normal course of driving)
- matters already the subject of an insurance claim (including excess)
- damage resulting from extreme weather events
- damage resulting from criminal actions
- damage resulting from the actions of a third party.
Lodging a claim for compensation
Your claim needs to be in writing providing full details of the incident and may be submitted using the Claim Form. The Claim Form should not be used for a claim arising from a personal injury. Alternatively, this form may be used as a guide to indicate the information we require in order to assess your claim. Please include copies of all receipts for repairs, photos of damage etc. Without supporting documentation, we will be unable to process your claim.
If you think the damage or loss you sustained is due to road works, please highlight this on the Claim Form. If we engaged an independent contractor to undertake the road works, it is likely your claim will be referred directly to them. In this event, we may provide you with the relevant contractor’s details.
Once we receive the claim, we may assess the claim ourselves, and/or pass it to our public liability insurer. If your claim is accepted, you will need to sign a Form of Discharge, which is a legal document that means you cannot make any further claims against us or our contractors regarding the incident subject of your claim. You will also need to provide a valid address, bank account details and email address for remittance confirmation.
If your claim is denied by us, there are no avenues for appeal within Main Roads. If you feel you have a strong legal case supporting your claim, you will need to pursue this through the civil courts.
If you feel you have been dealt with unfairly with respect to the administrative process followed by us and standards of service provided, you can contact the State Ombudsman who may investigate your complaint against us on your behalf.
This guide and associated claim form should not be used to submit a claim for compensation for personal injuries. This type of claim is covered by the Civil Liability Act 2002 (WA). If you have suffered a personal injury as a result of something you think we did or did not do, you should seek independent legal advice as soon as possible.
The Commissioner of Main Roads is responsible for over 18,000 kilometres of Western Australia's State controlled road network. This includes all freeways, highways and many major arterial roads such as Wanneroo Road and the Mullewa-Wubin Road. All other roads are the responsibility of local government, other government agencies (e.g. Department of Environment and Conservation) or private organisations (e.g. mining companies). To first determine if the road is a State controlled road under the responsibility of Main Roads, please check using the 'What We Manage' search tool on our homepage.
Help us to help you
One of the best ways for us to find out about road hazards is through reports from our road users themselves. If you see a hazard such as a pothole, debris or damaged sign, complete a Report a Fault form or call our 24 hour Customer Information Centre on 138 138 and we will have a maintenance contractor attend to the problem as soon as possible. Where the hazard relates to a road under the responsibility of another authority, we will report the hazard to them.