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Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council (21 003 060)

Category : Environment and regulation > Trees

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 13 Jul 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about a claim for damage to his car caused by a falling tree branch. We cannot determine legal claims about liability for negligence and the Council has agree to settle his claim.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained about the Council’s failure to give him a final response to his request for a review of its decision to reject his insurance claim for damage to his car.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We can decide whether to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X complained about the Council’s failure to accept liability for damage to his car caused by a falling branch from a highway tree. He asked for a review of the decision and the Council has confirmed to us that it accepts liability for the damage and has agreed to pay the repairs claim in full.
  2. The Ombudsman cannot determine legal claims about damage to property or personal injury. If the insurers had denied liability it would have been reasonable for Mr X to pursue the matter in the courts which can decide liability in civil matters.
  3. The Council has accepted the claim and we will not consider the complaint further.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint about a claim for damage to his car caused by a falling tree branch. We cannot determine legal claims about liability for negligence and the Council has agree to settle his claim.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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