Potholes in the roadQ: How can I claim for pothole damage?

A: The recent snow and ice has wrecked havoc with the roads, causing even more cracks and potholes to appear.

Potholes can damage car wheels and tyres, and potentially cause accidents.

All councils allow you to report potholes via their websites, and once they know about potholes, you are then able to claim for compensation for the costs of any damage the pothole caused.

To find out which council maintains the road, you can enter the road name, town or postcode go to Directgov.

The Cyclists’ Touring Club’s Fill That Hole website also lets you identify a pothole’s location using Google Maps.

Alternatively, if you download the free Fill That Hole iPhone app, it will locate the hole using GPS. The club will then report the pothole for you.

If the pothole incident or related accident happens on a motorway or A-road, you’ll need to contact the relevant highways agency.

And if your car was damaged on a private road, your claim will be against the road owner – try searching the Land Registry for ownership details.

When you make a report and compensation claim, include all the evidence you can, such as photos of the pothole, road name signs and the damage to your car. You can definitely claim for the cost of car repairs, but councils won’t necessarily compensate you for additional travel expenses as a result of the damage.

However, under Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980, councils can refuse claims if they can prove that reasonable care was taken to ‘secure that the part of the highway to which the action
relates and was not dangerous to traffic’.

But if the local authority knew about the pothole, but hasn’t repaired it, or hasn’t followed road maintenance guidelines, you should be able to claim. Good luck.

Andrea Ventress, money expert


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