Councils paid out more than £33 million settling almost 13,000 compensation claims over the last five years, the Tories have said.
Payments were made over incidents ranging from the "very serious to the utterly ridiculous", figures released to the Conservatives under freedom of information show.
The figures show that £33,207,000 was spent on compensation claims between 2007-08 and 2011-12, although the Tories claim that the true figure could be higher as seven of Scotland's 32 councils did not respond to the request.
Conservative local government spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said the claims suggest a "compensation culture" which is "spiralling out of control".
It is "neither sensible nor sustainable" for local authorities to be spending millions on compensation payments when public finances are being squeezed, she said.
But councillor David O'Neill, president of local government body Cosla, accused the Tories of "opportunistic council bashing" because authorities only pay compensation when instructed to do so by their lawyers.
Compensation payments in the past five years include a man in Edinburgh who claimed £170,000 because a firework blew up in his hand and a woman in Clackmannanshire who claimed £40 because grass-cutters damaged her garden gnomes. A dog owner in East Dunbartonshire received £57 from the local authority after their pet's paws got covered in tar and a cyclist in Edinburgh was given £4,000 after being knocked off their bike by overhanging branches.
Of the local authorities which responded, Falkirk Council has paid out most, at around £6.7 million, while claims cost Fife Council more than £5.2 million over the period.
Edinburgh City Council spent just over £3.2 million but at Glasgow City Council - Scotland's largest local authority - the cost was £665,000. Orkney Islands Council spent £7,500 on compensation claims over the five years.
Across Scotland the majority of claims involved vehicle accidents, trips on pavements or potholes and problems with council housing.