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Yes, you may be able to sue your local council if you trip on a footpath in NSW, under certain circumstances.
Section 45 of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) provides that a public authority, such as a local council, will not be liable for harm caused by the failure to exercise a function of the authority, such us repairs to a footpath, unless the authority “had actual knowledge of the particular risk the materialisation of which resulted in the harm”.
This means that if you have tripped on a footpath and sustained injuries, you can only sue the council if you can prove that the council had actual knowledge of the particular risk which materialised, being the tripping and falling.
Further, Councils have a duty of care to ensure that public footpaths are reasonably safe for pedestrians. This means that they must take reasonable steps to identify and fix any hazards on footpaths, such as cracks, potholes, or uneven surfaces, in a timely manner.
If you tripped on a footpath, you should report the incident to the council as soon as possible and seek medical attention for any injuries. You should also take photos of the hazard that caused your fall and record the details of any witnesses who saw the incident.
Though the council owes a duty of care, section 45 of the Civil Liability Act may be used as a defence to any suit brought against the council and the courts will also assess your conduct to determine if there is any contributory negligence on your part, as you are required to take reasonable care for your own safety.
If you intend to sue your local council for injuries sustained from tripping on a footpath, it’s recommended that you seek legal advice from a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office who might be able to assist recommending a suitable personal injury lawyer to assist.