Verging on a law suit?

LAST week the Voice reported on Vincent council’s new verge rules that’ll let you stick a swing or a cubby in a verge tree (“Swing and a roundabout”, June 2, 2018).

The article incorrectly stated council approval was needed, but as long as rope ladders, swings, cubbies, seats, logs or rocks meet the city’s criteria they can be put up without any red tape.

The new verge policy will now go out for public consultation for 21 days and then come back to Vincent council for a final vote.

Before councillors make the final call, staff will prepare a risk assessment report.

The council has already been consulting with its insurer LGIS.

LGIS says there have been no claims from anyone tripping over a verge treatment, despite illegal installations being pretty widespread across the city.

It’s also a lot tougher to win a personal injury claim these days: 9/11 massively drove up insurance premiums and they started to become unaffordable for sports clubs, charities and social clubs.

In response each state changed its legislation – the Civil Liabilities Act in WA – to make it harder to win personal liability suits.

The new changes meant councils just had to take precautions that a “reasonable person…would have taken”.

The number of successful “slip and fall” cases plummeted.

But some councils are still playing it very safe.

In 2012 the Town of Cambridge voted 6-3 to remove a kids’ treehouse from a verge on Barrett Street, fearing it was too much of a liability.

by DAVID BELL

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