Personal Injury on Council Property - Can I Take Legal Action?

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5 July 2014
8 days ago while walking my dogs in Edinburgh Gardens I stepped in a hidden pothole in grassy flat ground near the basketball court and fractured my ankle. Can I take legal action against Yarra Council? And if so can I get legal aid as I am 62 on a Widow Allowance with a 19 year old still doing year 12I am a self employed writer and pet carer and the doctor tells me I will have to wear the cast for at least 6 weeks.

My ability to move is affected as I'm on crutches and am finding it very hard to even look after myself let alone shop clean cook dress myself and so on and can't walk dogs either mine or the other people's I would otherwise care for. I also can't look for work as I would otherwise be doing and have had to postpone other self-employed work.


John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
Hi Jen,
  1. Like most states and territories in Australia, personal injury law experienced significant reforms in Victoria in the early 2000s.
  2. The Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic) is the main legislation that covers personal injury matters (that don't occur at work, etc.).
  3. The Law Handbook has a good article on the "Wrongs Act" that you may consider reviewing.
  4. Local councils are generally not liable for breaching, among other things, their duty of care unless its act or omission is so unreasonable (emphasis added) that no other local council could consider the act or omission to be a reasonable exercise.
  5. This means that it is generally more difficult to sue a local council than another business or organisation because you would likely need to demonstrate that other local councils take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of "hidden potholes" in parks.
  6. Legal Aid is generally unavailable for personal injury matters. Most people that are injured generally rely on a personal injury law firm, such as one of those "no win, no fee" that you've probably seen on TV. You may consider reviewing the recent thread "Tips for Choosing Best Personal Injury Lawyers / Compensation Lawyers (no win no fee lawyers)?".
Hope this helps. Please keep us updated with your progress and all the best for a speedy recovery.
5 July 2014
Dear John R,

Thanks very much for your prompt reply. Dismal information generally although clearly through no fault of your own. It seems a no-brainer to me that councils collecting rates and caring for public parks should make them safe for people to walk in. However I will have to do more research to understand all this - and thanks for your leads. I will also look around to see if any local legal advice is offered around my area.

Kind regards,