Skip to content

Pothole Damage - Making a Claim

Some estimates put the cost of repairing Britain’s potholes at more than £12 billion. It is an astonishing amount and one that is unlikely to be forthcoming from the Government’s coffers.

Some estimates put the cost of repairing Britain’s potholes at more than £12 billion. It is an astonishing amount and one that is unlikely to be forthcoming from the Government’s coffers. It is reported that a new invention, the so-called ‘Dalek’ is being trialled in the UK after successful use in the USA, where it has been dubbed ‘the Pothole Killer’. This machine can reportedly fix potholes in just two minutes, around 30 times faster than the standard one hour fix time. The machine comprises an arm and hose that sprays potholes full with a mixture of tar and gravel. It is an impressive advance but even if it’s approved for widespread use in the UK, our potholes are going to be with us for some time yet.
 
If you hit a pothole at low speed you can suffer tyre damage and the wheels may be jolted out of alignment. This is unlikely to justify the expense of an insurance claim but you should still have the tyre checked over and have the wheel balance and alignment checked. Encountering a pothole at higher speed can cause significant damage and is potentially dangerous, with the possibility of losing control and causing an accident. 
 
The damage caused by such an impact can include shattered wheels, burst tyres and unseen damage to tracking and steering systems. Drivers should pull to the side of the road when safe and check for visible damage. If there is a vibration on restart or the steering wheel pulls to one side or doesn’t centre properly any more, then it is important to get it checked out. 
 
It is possible to make a claim against the relevant local authority to pay for repairs to such damage but there are some factors to bear in mind. The first is that they will have a statutory defence if they can show that they did not know about the pothole. This may be the case if the pothole has not been previously reported to them or identified by their own survey systems. If at all possible, take pictures of the pothole and get statements from any witnesses. Get a number of estimates for the repairs and keep all receipts. All councils are required to have a system in place to report defects and you should send all details of the incident to them. On major trunk roads, responsibility lies with the Highways Agency. If your claim is rejected you can ask to see the council’s road inspection reports and claim again. With a little perseverance you have a good chance of success.

Posted by on

Back to April 2014

Back to top