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Report a pothole and find out how to claim for damage!

NORA Report a pothole!
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Report a pothole and find out how to claim for damage

Potholes and other road defects are an increasing problem on Britain’s roads, causing damage to vehicles and presenting a potential safety hazard whether you are on four wheels or two.

They are a persistent concern for motorists, bikers and cyclists and although it is up to highways authorities to fix them, you can do your bit by reporting those you see – which is free and easy to do on this website.

Report a pothole

Report a pothole to FixMyStreet (https://www.fixmystreet.com/) to make it quick and easy for you to report a pothole you see, or indeed any street problem such as street or traffic lights not working, obstructions and broken pavements.

Enter the location of the problem below and hit ‘Go’. You don’t need to know the exact address:

FixMyStreet

You’ll be passed to FixMyStreet from where you can send a report and track its status.

If the pothole you want to report is on a motorway or major A-road in England, you can also contact National Highways on 0300 123 5000 or visit https://report.highwaysengland.co.uk.

If your car is damaged by a pothole, you may be able to claim compensation. The chances of being successful in claiming compensation will significantly depend on whether the pothole has already been reported.

Councils have a statutory defence in that they cannot be held liable for a defect they are not aware of – either because it has not been reported to them or it has not been picked up their own system of inspection and maintenance.

To make a claim you must address it to the right authority. Sending it to the wrong place could mean your claim is delayed or doesn’t get looked at. If the pothole:

In your claim, tell them about the issue and, if they believe you have a valid claim, they will normally send you a damage report form. You will then have to fill the form in and send it to the address on the form. As well as any evidence you’ve collected as listed above, you’ll need to provide:

  • Copies of estimates or invoices for repairs to your vehicle
  • A current MOT certificate
  • Photos of the damage if you have them

REMEMBER: Trespassing on a motorway is a criminal offence. Don’t visit or try to photograph the location where your vehicle was damaged.

If you have fully comprehensive insurance, it might also be possible to make a claim via your insurer for the damage to your vehicle.

Pothole damage

If your vehicle is damaged due to a pothole:

1.   Take notes – When you are parked somewhere safely, write down all the key details including the location of the pothole, its rough size, shape and depth. If it is safe to do so, make a simple sketch of the area showing the position of the pothole including any surrounding features. It is also worth taking a photograph of the offending pothole

2.   Have witnesses – Wherever possible, get the details of any witnesses who saw the incident.  This might help your claim

3.   Get garage quotes – Make sure you get quotes for all repairs. Keep all quotes, bills and garage receipts safely in one place and make copies of them to support your claim

4.   Weigh up the pros and cons – It may not always be worthwhile making a claim for compensation if the amount is below a certain level. Before attempting to make a claim, do your research first as it could be a costly, time-consuming process

5.   Make your claim – A step-by-step guide is below

6.   Prepare for rejection – The highways authority may defend the claim under section 58 of the Highways Act and their right to statutory defence. If they can prove they have a regular inspection and repair system in place, they may be able to reject your claim

7.   Do your research – before going back to the authority to discuss the claim further, review the guidance provided on their website, check what the council is liable for and verify if they are carrying out a reasonable system of inspection and repair

8.   Be willing to negotiate – If the highways authority makes you an offer, you should seriously consider it. You may be able to negotiate but while you can claim the cost of repairs, you won’t necessarily be compensated for additional travel expenses or the inconvenience caused.

9.   Consider the small claims court – If your claim is rejected, you may be able to go to the small claims court. If you choose to, seek legal advice as you could end up incurring legal costs

10.                 Keep calm – Always try to remain calm and professional when dealing with the highways authority. And keep copies of all the letters and emails you send and receive – if you do go to court, you will have to provide a record of all your correspondence

Regards,

Secretary