If mining has damaged your home, you are entitled to compensation, lawyer says

If mining has damaged your home, you are entitled to compensation, lawyer says

Article in partnership with RMB Lawyers.

While the coal mining industry is always keen to spruik the employment and economic benefits to communities in which they operate, it can sometimes have a harmful effect too.

One of the major drawbacks comes from property damage caused by 'mine subsidence', which is the movement of the ground that can occur after the mining takes place.

Basically, after coal is removed the land above the mine can sink and fill the hollow left behind. This can cause tilts and strains on the ground surface.

It can also cause a number of other issues including the formation of potholes and cracks to appear in houses or other nearby structures.

While getting compensation for such damage seems like a long and complicated process, it isn't a lost cause, RMB Lawyers' Steve Baker says.

Every year, RMB Lawyers helps clients to get what their owed by the mining industry after their homes have been affected by mine subsidence.

However, in order to achieve this there are certain things homeowners who live near current or former mining sites need to be aware of.

The first and most important, Mr Baker says, is the fact that there are time limits that apply to these claims.

"A claim needs to be made within 12 months of the damage to the home being noticed," Mr Baker explained.

"If the homeowner lets this time lapse then their rights to claim compensation for the damage to their home could be lost forever," he continued.

"They should contact a lawyer when the damage is first noticed so that guidance can be given on how to lodge the claim legally."

It is also important for local homeowners to understand the process by which their claims will be assessed.

All claims are assessed by Subsidence Advisory NSW as well as the coal mine proprietor, he explained, they will determine whether the damage has been caused by coal mine subsidence.

"This is often a difficult process to determine definitively," Mr Baker warned.

"Reports are obtained by experts in engineering and geotechnical engineering, amongst others. Quite often there is some 'grey area' in determining the cause of the damage. (As such) a benefit of the doubt approach is sometimes taken."

That's why, he says, it is so important for residents to know that they have the legal right to appeal these decisions and to obtain their own independent expert opinions.

"I regularly see home owners that tell me that the house was perfectly fine for several decades until the mine came through," Mr Baker said.

"In these circumstances it is critical that we test the expert evidence of the mine by obtaining our own expert evidence to see whether the damage to the home is related to coal mine subsidence or not."

RMB Lawyers have helped many homeowners reach a positive outcome where claims for various elements of damage have been declined, Mr Baker explained, however, there are time limits on making appeals.

"Home owners should contact us immediately after they receive a claim denial or an offer of settlement that they feel is inadequate," he said.

"We have a specific way of funding these legal disputes that does not require ongoing funding of legal costs throughout the running of a dispute," he continued.

"Home owners should not let the fear of legal costs deter them from investigating their claim and ensuring the best possible result is achieved."

If you think your home has been damaged by mine subsidence or if you have had a claim denied or been offered an inadequate settlement, contact RMB Lawyers on 1800 681 211 or email them at steveb@rmblawyers.com.au

Article in partnership with RMB Lawyers.