Ever wondered if you can claim against the local authority if your car or tyres are damaged by a pothole?
Vehicle owners are often faced with bills for hundreds of pounds due to problems caused by craters in the roads, including punctured tyres and damaged suspension.
Well it is possible to claim against the local authority – however, experts admit that only around half of all claims succeed.
Councils have a ready-made defence under Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980, according to a study in the Daily Mail.
This says they can refuse a claim on the basis that they had taken ‘reasonable’ measures to ensure potholes were located and observed a ‘reasonable’ system of inspection and repair.
In many cases, councils reject claims on the basis that cracks in the road can open up suddenly – especially after cold weather.
They say that unless they have been notified about a specific hole, or found it on a regular inspection, they cannot be held liable for any accidents it causes.
So it’s no good just proving a dangerous pothole exists, the onus is on the claimant to prove that the council has not taken reasonable measures to tackle potholes or that its maintenance programme is substandard.
If a motorist wants to follow these steps; measure the pothole and take photographs with a ruler to give an idea of scale; provide a full breakdown of repair costs; record any injuries and supply contact details of witnesses to the accident.
Small claims courts are the most popular way of seeking compensation, but legal action will often cost more than the repair bill.
Oliver Hall, Operations Team