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Pot hole damage to vehicle

By 2 March 2012 76

Hello Fellow Rioters.

Yesterday on my drive to work, my little Hyundai Getz hit a pot hole and suffered a broken wheel and tyre. I had to wait for 2 hours after calling the NRMA for a tow truck to come and drop off the car to a mechanic in Braddon.

I was charged 255$ for the tow – that after being a NRMA roadside assistance member. On top of that I will be charged another  ~300$ for a new wheel and tyre, and that excludes any suspension damage. Mine was the 6th car to have been damaged from the same pot hole.

My question is – how can I make a claim to the ACT government for damages. Apart from the fact that I had to spend 550$ on the car, I had to take the day off work, as I was only able to get to the mechanic at around 12 in the afternoon – and I am yet to get my car back.

I have been advised that I should contact Canberra Connect – has anyone been succesful in getting their claim reimbursed in a similar situation. Like I said, I was the 6th car to have been damaged by this pot hole. I have the name and number of another lady who also suffered a similar fate who can be a witness if required.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

PS. This pot hole was near the exit ramp towards tuggeranong parkway on william hovell drive – just under the bridge at glenloch interchange. This was subsequently patched up while me and 2 other cars were waiting for the tow trucks to arrive, approximately 11am yesterday.

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76 Responses to Pot hole damage to vehicle
#31
sylasgreen3:12 pm, 02 Mar 12

That’s a weird NRMA membership mentioned there…

Standard roadside assist has 20km of towing in metro areas – which is within the distance to Braddon from that onramp you mention (according to google maps, anyway), unless they went on a bit of a tour…

If that’s the membership type you have, then I’d contact NRMA and see about resolving the towing charge. (you DO have a receipt for the towing, right?)

As to suing the government? You say they came and fixed the problem while you were waiting, which is within 2 hours. That seems….reasonable to me. It’d be hard to argue that they’re at fault for extreme weather conditions causing a pothole.

#32
Tetranitrate3:31 pm, 02 Mar 12

Jim Jones said :

Yes, I’ve driven down Northbourne, and all over Canberra on a very regular basis.

If you went to any rural or regional town and tried to tell them that the roads in Canberra were ‘downright shameful’ they’d probably punch you in the mouth.

oh dear, I guess I’m dealing with a real tough guy here. Please don’t punch me in the mouth, I’m ever so scared.

Jim Jones said :

People in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, etc. would just laugh at you.

Now you’re just getting ridiculous.

#33
smeeagain3:38 pm, 02 Mar 12

mickey said :

I had a spare but it was pouring and the spare was low on air as well. To make matters worse, while waiting with my hazard lights on – the battery died :D

Sounds to me like you need to undertake some basic maintenance on your vehicle, which includes regularly checking your spare tyre. The battery should last longer than that with the hazards on too.

#34
ForReal3:43 pm, 02 Mar 12

This has bugged me for years – we pay taxes in anticipation that these services – road, water, sewer etc. – are fit for use; as the OP attests, this road is evidently unfit for the purpose intended (safe, secure transit etc.?)!

Might there be a connection here with the rash of concrete scratching that’s been going on over recent years – presumably in response to pedestrians tripping and falling on exposed edges resulting in injury.

I’d be very interested in reading the legal advice (yeah sure, as if) that the ACT Gov. received that prompted the concrete work; one hopes it says something like ‘surfaces that cause damage or injury to citizens or property are to be made good and that such damage or injury is a ACT Gov. liability’.

Any legal boffs want to set things straight?

#35
mickey3:57 pm, 02 Mar 12

sylasgreen said :

That’s a weird NRMA membership mentioned there…

Standard roadside assist has 20km of towing in metro areas – which is within the distance to Braddon from that onramp you mention (according to google maps, anyway), unless they went on a bit of a tour…

If that’s the membership type you have, then I’d contact NRMA and see about resolving the towing charge. (you DO have a receipt for the towing, right?)

As to suing the government? You say they came and fixed the problem while you were waiting, which is within 2 hours. That seems….reasonable to me.

It’d be hard to argue that they’re at fault for extreme weather conditions causing a pothole.

There is no intention of ‘suing’ the government, I just want to claim for repair costs for the wheel. And obviously claim for towing from NRMA. I do have an invoice, I will be getting the receipt by email, hopefully in the next day or 2.

#36
Jim Jones3:57 pm, 02 Mar 12

Tetranitrate said :

Jim Jones said :

Yes, I’ve driven down Northbourne, and all over Canberra on a very regular basis.

If you went to any rural or regional town and tried to tell them that the roads in Canberra were ‘downright shameful’ they’d probably punch you in the mouth.

oh dear, I guess I’m dealing with a real tough guy here. Please don’t punch me in the mouth, I’m ever so scared.

Jim Jones said :

People in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, etc. would just laugh at you.

Now you’re just getting ridiculous.

I didn’t say I would punch you in the mouth, I suggested that residents of rural and residential areas would like to do so (because roads are in a far worse state in these places than in Canberra).

I wouldn’t punch you in the mouth because (a) I don’t know who you are, (b) I don’t know where you are, (c) I don’t really care anyway and, finally, (d) I don’t have a habit of punching people in the mouth.

Residents of State capitals would laugh at you because the roads there are far worse than Canberra’s roads. Nothing ridiculous about it – the hyperbole about the shocking state of Canberra’s roads, on the other hand …

#37
mickey3:59 pm, 02 Mar 12

smeeagain said :

mickey said :

I had a spare but it was pouring and the spare was low on air as well. To make matters worse, while waiting with my hazard lights on – the battery died :D

Sounds to me like you need to undertake some basic maintenance on your vehicle, which includes regularly checking your spare tyre. The battery should last longer than that with the hazards on too.

I agree :D
It was the mrs’ car, I guess that means I still have to check on it regularly.

#38
Zeital4:30 pm, 02 Mar 12

mickey said :

smeeagain said :

mickey said :

I had a spare but it was pouring and the spare was low on air as well. To make matters worse, while waiting with my hazard lights on – the battery died :D

Sounds to me like you need to undertake some basic maintenance on your vehicle, which includes regularly checking your spare tyre. The battery should last longer than that with the hazards on too.

I agree :D
It was the mrs’ car, I guess that means I still have to check on it regularly.

…. i can’t believe how many women think cars will magically fix themselfs …

carnardly said :

If you had a real car, you might’ve just bounced on over a pothol rather than sinking into it.

:-)

my very real car would be eaten alive by a pot hole like that so shut yer trap

#39
liability4:39 pm, 02 Mar 12

Chance of success, pretty much nil.

The ACT Government, for most matters, is a self insurer, i.e. there is no insurance company and you have to claim directly from the government. Forgetting the issue of whether your claim has any merit, which it most likely doesn’t, they will stuff you around for many, many months.

Usual practice is that the government will pass you around from department to department for a while and will then ask you to put your claim in writing. Once you do this you will eventually receive a letter, either from TAMS or possibly the ACT Government Solicitor, rejecting your claim. If you want to take it further you will then have to commence proceedings in the ACT Magistrates Court against the government.

The ACT Government, generally speaking, will vigorously defend most claims against it. Most insurance companies will generally pay up fairly quickly if they think there client is at fault, or often will make a commercial decision in such small claims just to pay it, as it will cost them more in admin costs to fight it. However, the ACT Government seems to have an unwritten policy of fighting all claims.

I have been involved in matters, through work, where an ACT Government vehicle has run into a parked car. You would think that was a fairly straight forward matter and the the ACT Government would pay for the cost of repairs for the other vehicle, after the usual “get three quotes” business. Yes, they did pay up, but it took nearly 9 months to get the money from them, and they only paid when the innocent party commenced Court proceedings.

Summary – worth making a phone call or two to TAMS, but don’t expect anything.

#40
Keijidosha4:40 pm, 02 Mar 12

I’d be surprised if you get a cent out of the Government for the repair costs to your car.

I’ve been through a similar situation with a pothole and the Government apparently has a rule for this kind of thing. As far as they are concerned the pothole doesn’t exist until someone notifies Canberra Connect/TAMS (usually the person who falls foul of said pothole). From that point the Government has 48 hours to repair the road surface before they become liable for any damage caused to vehicles.
So what you need to do is call CC and ask when they were notified of the pothole. If it was more than 48 hours before you ran through it, then you have a case for claim.

That aside, the fee you have been charged for the replacement wheel & tyre sounds pretty steep. If it is a standard steel wheel you could pick one up from a wrecker for $50 tops.

#41
SnapperJack4:50 pm, 02 Mar 12

How long have you been in Australia? The dollar sign is placed *before* the amount: ie: $500.00 – not 500$. It has been this way since Decimal Currency was introduced in 1966. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this mistake.

#42
dtc5:04 pm, 02 Mar 12

Keijidosha said :

I’d be surprised if you get a cent out of the Government for the repair costs to your car.

I’ve been through a similar situation with a pothole and the Government apparently has a rule for this kind of thing. As far as they are concerned the pothole doesn’t exist until someone notifies Canberra Connect/TAMS (usually the person who falls foul of said pothole). From that point the Government has 48 hours to repair the road surface before they become liable for any damage caused to vehicles.
So what you need to do is call CC and ask when they were notified of the pothole. If it was more than 48 hours before you ran through it, then you have a case for claim.

That aside, the fee you have been charged for the replacement wheel & tyre sounds pretty steep. If it is a standard steel wheel you could pick one up from a wrecker for $50 tops.

This is pretty much the rule for footpaths as well, and there have been an awful lot of people who have tripped on a footpath and sued for their injuries (yeah yeah, no need to express outrage, this type of law suit has been around for many many years). In any event, I dont see why roads should be different to footpaths – if TAMS has been notified and it was reasonable for them to correct it (taking into account the degree of danger, its resources, the risk to drivers etc) then it would be liable.

A second issue is why the pothole developed – if it was poor road laying then that might be a breach of whatever standard or contract was in place (this would make the contractor liable – but the ACT can’t necessarily escape liability to a driver by saying it was the fault of the ACT’s own contractor).

So I would put in the claim and see what happens. Chances are the response will be ‘we didnt know about the pothole/it developed suddenly in the rain/ it wasnt repairable in time’. Then you are left trying to disprove the issue.

And if you get really angry, there is always the small claims court. Is your time worth the effort? Is the ACT’s time worth the effort of defending?

#43
joehbad5:20 pm, 02 Mar 12

You have no chance.

There is a rule/ruling/legal precedent or whatever you like to call it that if a pothole develops it’s in the act of god territory and the roads owner/maintainer is not liable.

However, they are liable if they fixed it and did a bad job, and that broke your car. The reasoning was something to do with it not being negligent to do nothing, but it is negligent to do something, and not do it right.

I did once hear about a case in NSW in which the RTA was found to be liable for not fixing a road, but it was a very narrowly defining ruling that was based on the council had been notified (there were records), and they had breached their internal procedure for prioritising repairs. It caused a lot of worry at the time because it looked like a major precdent, but the person suing had been very badly injured (like quadraplegic or something) and the court was obviously fishing for an excuse to access the council’s insurance funds. In effect, they lost because they had bad paperwork, not because of not fixing the pothole.

Public roads are not warranted to be fit for any particular purpose (such as driving at the speed limit on a wet day that obscures potholes for example), and the onus is on you as the driving to operate your vehicle in a safe manner.

#44
vg6:21 pm, 02 Mar 12

“My question is – how can I make a claim to the ACT government for damages”

You can’t, game over

#45
I-filed6:29 pm, 02 Mar 12

It seems unlikely that you “had to take the day off work” … Why didn’t you catch a bus to work and pick the car up from the mechanic at the end of the day?

Unfortunately, I’d say the unusual weather, causing many large potholes, would mean that the ACT Government wouldn’t be expected to compensate anyone who damaged their car, provided they were looking after the potholes as quickly as is reasonable under the circumstances.

If you were charged $255 for the tow by an NRMA towtruck then it sounds as though you chose a lower premium and therefore a higher threshold you would have to pay for a tow? That’s a choice you make when you choose your insurance policy …

Not worth any form of legal action for $500 unless it’s a straightforward Small Claims Court matter. On this issue the ACT Gubmint would definitely pay lawyers to avoid a precedent ….

Just move on!

#46
farnarkler6:39 pm, 02 Mar 12

You might be lucky if TAMS have had lots of complaints about particular pothole, kept records (an FOI request will tell you) and have neglected to get it fixed. Good luck.

#47
Sandman10:17 pm, 02 Mar 12

mickey said :

The towie advised that since a pot hole damage is considered to be an ‘accident’, caused by an ACT road, there are good chances that ACT roads/ TAMS will reimburse you for repairs if your car is registered (3rd party insurance cover?), as there is a CTPI premium you pay at the time of registration.

If I was a towie ripping you off to the tune of $225 then I’d spout a load of bollocks at you to try and make you feel better about the situation too. Claim it on your comprehensive Insurance. If you don’t have comprehensive and can’t afford to loose your car, then you shouldn’t be driving. Take the bus instead (that’s where all the money’s going, only problem is it’s way to inconvenient for most people if it doesn’t stop outside their door at a time that suits only them)

#48
Sandman10:19 pm, 02 Mar 12

Oops, $255.

And $300 for a wheel and tyre? I would have thought $50 from Franks Parts Plus would suffice there.

#49
redrfs10:48 pm, 02 Mar 12

You need to be able to show that TAMS knew about the pot hole, and did not fix the pot hole in a timely manner.

How did you get charged for towing, your NRMA road side should have covered that.

#50
OpenYourMind10:59 pm, 02 Mar 12

As a ratepayer in the ACT, I truly hope you don’t get a red cent. While the events you describe may be expensive and shitty luck/management for you, I hardly see any fault resting on ACTGovt (aka us). If it was a monster pothole taking out cars over weeks or a terrible trip hazard known to the Govt and not fixed or mitigated, then maybe you’d have a case.

You hit a pothole. Potholes develop quickly in the wet on all types of road surfaces in all cities. Just explain to me how your misfortune/mismanagement is our problem?

#51
rarm998311:33 pm, 02 Mar 12

Sorry to hear about your car Mickey! I drove past the hole and yourself most likely yesterday morning. Possibly going to take this off topic a bit but having figured out where the pot hole nastys are at the moment I have been slowing down to ensure I do not encounter a similar story but each time have had a flash of the lights, honk of the horn or some other gesture which I am sure means thanks for slowing down and making the car behind you aware of the pot hole, question is, when did people turn into such ars*’s? If I chose to slow to make it home alive and with no damage how does someone have a right to abuse me about it. Also, does most of Canberra listen to CDs and not the radio so they have missed the giant car eating pot hole, also lots of rain, danger alert, slow the f down message?

It has just really frustrated me that I have concern for my safety but apparently no one else does.

Katy G needs to do something about it! I’m not dying in Canberra.

Love to know if you’re the person who abused me too, I saw something above about punching in the face?!

#52
Minz12:14 am, 03 Mar 12

You think Canberra’s bad? I was living in the lovely city of Montreal, and every spring the roads would grow a million potholes big enough to pop tyres. I know people that have popped all four tyres at once there. Scary stuff… and you couldn’t tell which were deep and which weren’t.

Having said that, I’d live there again in a heartbeat. Roads aren’t everything :)

#53
Cantoangel12:41 am, 03 Mar 12

pajs said :

My suggestion is you pay for the repair of your own car, caused by your own driving, and stop expecting to shift your private costs to ACT taxpayers.

I bet you didn’t even read the post did you? I hope a sinkhole opens up under your car, don’t worry we won’t be wasting any tax money on an ambulance!

Dumbass. As if they could see a water-filled pothole in the crazy rain we’ve been having.

#54
Special G7:26 am, 03 Mar 12

Learn to drive. Try leavng enough space between you and the car in front so you can actually see the road.

#55
VicePope8:33 am, 03 Mar 12

Have a look at s113, Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002. It was – I think – intended to overcome concerns arising from the 2001 High Court decision in Brodie v Singleton Shire.

#56
damien haas12:20 pm, 03 Mar 12

4 getz wheels and tyres for $100 on epay – no other bidders.

I’d shop around a bit, unless your happy to just pay the quoted amount.

I doubt you will get a cracker from actgov.

btw – on Hibberson St this AM there was a massive pothole near the main pedestrian crossing into big W. Its obvious that repairs have been made – several times – but its just getting bigger. I wouldnt drive your getz over it, it might fall in.

#57
strangelyemily6:47 pm, 03 Mar 12

Jim Jones said :

If you went to any rural or regional town and tried to tell them that the roads in Canberra were ‘downright shameful’ they’d probably punch you in the mouth.

People in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, etc. would just laugh at you.

As someone who lived in Adelaide for the past 23 years and moved to Canberra two months ago, I can honestly say that the roads here are much worse than Adelaide’s roads, in terms of pot holes and also some really weird paved segments on some of the roads leading into the city – I was thinking maybe it’s called Brisbane Ave, if you’re in the right hand lane you need to place your car so that your right wheels sit either to the right or left of a really weirdly patched strip of road. Plus there’s some massive gouges near a set of lights. In general the roads seem to be in a lesser state of repair.

I also lived in a rural town with around 500 residents for 6 months and except for an issue with gravel at one intersection, the township boasted better roads than Canberra.

#58
dundle8:52 pm, 03 Mar 12

I saw that being patched up, must have driven by right after! It’s a huge hole and there is a similar one on the way back. I also drive a small car, I guess I’m lucky, went right into a hole the other day. I’m not sure how you can claim, I’d contact Canberra Connect and ask, or write a grumpy letter to TAMS/your MP and see what they say. Sorry about your car.

#59
HenryBG9:24 pm, 03 Mar 12

mickey said :

There is no intention of ‘suing’ the government, I just want to claim for repair costs for the wheel. And obviously claim for towing from NRMA. I do have an invoice, I will be getting the receipt by email, hopefully in the next day or 2.

*You* drove into the hole, why should *I* (the ratepayer) pay for it?

Next time, drive to the conditions.

Oh, and get a real car.

#60
Ceej19739:58 pm, 03 Mar 12

Since when does the $ sign come after the number?

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