Get a picture quick before they fill in the hole.
If you’re car has been damaged by a deep rut or a cavernous tear in the tarmac, you could seek compensation from the authority responsible for the maintenance of the road rather than digging deep into their own pockets.
So we asked a number of owners who have successfully made a claim what to do?
Immediate: Evidence gathering. Take a picture of the offending pothole. This is essential as the hole could be repaired before your claim is settled. Measure if possible Length x Breadth x Depth, not always easy we know. Take pictures of the whole area just to show no warning signs.
Report pothole to Council and Police if it is a danger, this helps to create a record and maybe help someone else.
Obtain written report from your repairer outlining the damage, probable cause if he can say so and the cost to replace.
House to house enquiries from anybody living nearby to try and establish how long the hole has been there and if other similar occurrences have occurred and take full details of any witnesses traced.
Establish from local council who is responsible for the road i.e. the County Council Highways or District Council and fire off a letter to them with COPIES of your evidence claiming compensation from their Insurance. You may be lucky and succeed and if not depending on the strength of your evidence action in the Small Claims Court.
The local authority has a duty to maintain the highway and you will have a claim against the council if you suffer injury or damage to property as a result of a defect in the road.
s58 of the Highways Act 1980 gives the Local Auth a possible defense as follows....
(1) In an action against a highway authority in respect of damage resulting from their failure to maintain a highway maintainable at the public expense it is a defense (without prejudice to any other defense or the application of the law relating to contributory negligence) to prove that the authority had taken such care as in all the circumstances was reasonably required to secure that the part of the highway to which the action relates was not dangerous for traffic.
(2) For the purposes of a defense under subsection (1) above, the court shall in particular have regard to the following matters:—
(a) the character of the highway, and the traffic which was reasonably to be expected to use it;
(b) the standard of maintenance appropriate for a highway of that character and used by such traffic;
(c) the state of repair in which a reasonable person would have expected to find the highway;
(d) whether the highway authority knew, or could reasonably have been expected to know, that the condition of the part of the highway to which the action relates was likely to cause danger to users of the highway;
(e) where the highway authority could not reasonably have been expected to repair that part of the highway before the cause of action arose, what warning notices of its condition had been displayed;
but for the purposes of such a defence it is not relevant to prove that the highway authority had arranged for a competent person to carry out or supervise the maintenance of the part of the highway to which the action relates unless it is also proved that the authority had given him proper instructions with regard to the maintenance of the highway and that he had carried out the instructions.