Britain’s roads are riddled with potholes and many of them can seriously damage our cars. In which case, it may be possible to claim compensation…
Compensation for Pothole Damage
Between April 1st 2018 and August 31st 2020, Highways England paid out £675,000 in compensation for pothole damage; according to a Freedom of Information request. Over that period, a total of 3,274 claims were made and 2,140 were successful.
Generally, potholes need to be wider than 15cm (6 inches) diameter, or deeper than 4cm (1.5 inches) of the road surface thickness, to be considered capable of damaging a car. When they’re that wide, deep or both they’re capable of damaging a vehicle’s bodywork, steering, wheels, suspension system and tyres. According to the RAC, drivers are 1.5 times more likely to experience pothole damage today than they were back in 2016.
How To Make A Claim
Typically, successful claims concern previously reported potholes; if a council isn’t aware, they can claim that they’re not responsible, as they can’t fix a problem they haven’t been informed about. Whilst this may sound unfair (it is, after all, councils that take responsibility for local roads) it’s simply how things stand. Major roads, such as motorways or a-roads, fall under the remit of Highways England. Meanwhile, London red routes are the responsibility of Transport for London. Traffic Wales and Traffic Scotland handle major roads in their respective countries.
You’ll need to record details of the damage the pothole has caused, why you think a particular organisation is responsible for it and the location, date and time concerning the incident. To maximize your chances of success, see if you can safely take photos of the pothole or damaged road; although, bear in mind, it’s illegal to do so, and extremely dangerous, on a motorway. You should also record all receipts for repair work, to evidence costs and expenses.
When dealing with a council, or any other council, try to be polite and reasonable. Should you claim be dismissed, be aware that’s there’s typically an appeals process that you can resort to as well.
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