VIC Pine Cone Damaged Car - Council Won't Pay

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Lindsay Rice

New Member
31 July 2014
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I was driving on a public road in Melbourne when a pine cone fell from a line of Pine trees planted next to the road and damaged my car. I have spoken to the council who are not willing to do anything about it. I believe it is a serious safety issue as it could have hit my windscreen and caused an accident. Can I get the council to pay for the damage to my car and address the safety issue?
 

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
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250
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Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Lindsay,

Councils have a duty to keep council land reasonably safe. Councils usually have programs that regularly prune trees and look out for overhanging and dangerous trees/weeds/roots. However, falling pinecones does not seem to be a reasonably foreseeable safety hazard.

In any case, it would be difficult getting compensation for your damage. To give you some perspective, in Victoria, drivers who have their cars damaged due to potholes, open drainage pipes etc have difficulty seeking compensation from VicRoads for their damage: Herald Sun article.

However, it would depend on the nature of damage suffered to yourself and your car and whether the council was negligent in maintaining their trees. You may sue the council for damages (costs for repair), however, this would be costly and you may not face a high likelihood of winning, or you could contact the Victorian State Ombudsman and see if you can lodge a complaint against the council for failing to maintain a safe environment for the general public.