So, you were literally driving your car along the road when suddenly a sinkhole appears in front of you. You try your best to avoid it but inadvertently fail and end up falling in.
Now you’re hurt, and your car is damaged.
One of the questions that might come to mind is: “How am I gonna pay for the medical bills and repairs to my car?”
That’s a very relevant question.
The answer depends on many factors, the main factor being where the sinkhole appeared, with why it appeared also being an important factor to consider.
Generally, the body responsible for the road is probably where you’re gonna want to file your complaint and claim for damages.
So, if the sinkhole appeared on the PLUS highway, then the body responsible would be the highway concessionaire.
If the sinkhole appeared on a road under the jurisdiction of the local council, then the local council will be responsible.
Meanwhile, if the sinkhole appeared on the road under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Works (Kementerian Kerja Raya, KKR), then it would be their responsibility.
TIP: If you aren’t sure which road belongs to whom, roads belonging to the local council usually have names. Like Jalan Maharajalela or Jalan Pinang for example. Both of which fall under Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s jurisdiction (Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, DBKL).
On the other hand, main roads that connect to a highway or a trunk road usually belong to KKR.
So, now that you’ve identified which jurisdiction your case falls under, the next thing that could make or break your case is WHY the sinkhole appeared.
This is important because although technically the Mayor of KL can’t stop you from asking for compensation or taking legal action against them, whether or not your claim will be successful depends on the results of an investigation conducted by an insurance adjuster and the decision of the courts.
According to DBKL’s FAQ page, if your damages were caused by something out of their control like natural disasters, for example, then they probably aren’t gonna compensate you.
OK, but what if the sinkhole I fell into wasn’t caused by “nature”, but instead was caused by a burst water pipe belonging to SYABAS?
Although the premise may seem complicated, it’s actually still really simple. You still claim it from whomever’s jurisdiction the road falls under.
According to Shah Alam City councillor Muhammad Shakir Ameer Mohideen, the local council will deal with SYABAS internally.
“Despite [the local council reporting that the cause was a burst pipe belonging to SYABAS] technically you can still file a claim from [the local council] as they’re in charge of the roads.
But, [the local council] will claim from SYABAS. So, the dealing between [the local council] and SYABAS will be internal. They’ll deal among themselves.
Legally its between you and DBKL.”
Muhammad Shakir Ameer Mohideen to TRP
This should be applicable for both vehicle damages and/or medical expenses.
But, as we said earlier, whether or not you get compensated really depends on the factors of the case and whether or not you can prove that your case falls within the organisation’s requirements.
In the case of the yellow Myvi which fell into a 3 square metre sinkhole on Jalan Maharajalela on Sunday night (24 Nov 2019), the driver of the Myvi can easily prove that the cause of the sinkhole was a burst SYABAS pipe as it has been widely reported in the news.
Starving forensic investigator turned writer cause she couldn’t find a job. Used to search for killers now searches for killer stories.