Making a personal injury claim as a result of potholes
After a few years of freezing winters, the number of potholes on UK roads has been steadily increasing and so have the number of accidents as a result. Potholes are one of the biggest problems facing the British motorist today. They are estimated to cause as many as one in five mechanical failures and cost motorists an estimated £370 million every year! They are also responsible for a wide range of personal injury claims. The majority of these personal injury claims are motorists who have been injured while driving over potholes; typical injuries to drivers include jarred backs and necks or in more serious cases a range of head injuries that require hospital treatment.
However it isn't just motorists that can be adversely affected by potholes, they are also a serious hazard for both pedestrians and cyclists. Potholes can result in a serious personal injury should a cyclist fall off their bike or a pedestrian trips while crossing the road. Typical injuries can include broken wrists and arms, severe bruising and swollen or broken ankles. There have even been stories of fatalities as a result of cyclists hitting or trying to avoid potholes.
How to make a pothole personal injury claim
The maintenance of pavements, roads and motorways is typically the responsibility of the highway department of the local council. This department is required to regularly inspect and monitor roads and pavements for potholes and other adverse features. They are expected to have an adequate maintenance regime in place.
Nevertheless, as road maintenance in England and Wales is underfunded by around 50% or £1 billion every year, personal injuries resulting from potholes are inevitable. However you shouldn't take a personal injury lying down, if you feel like you've got a genuine claim then there are a number of issues that you’ll need to prove:
- The motorway or road in question had not been maintained appropriately and was therefore deemed as dangerous
- The pothole was a direct cause of your personal injury
- The local authority failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the motorway, road or pavement was safe. E.g. responding to a reported pothole in adequate time
If you feel you can prove the above then it would also be helpful if you can gather as much evidence as possible. Taking a photo of the pothole and measuring the width and depth will also aid in your claim. It would also be beneficial if you could monitor whether the road was lit or not, how wide the road was, what type of traffic use the road and whether the road is kerbed or not. A full set of evidence will naturally help us win your personal injury claim.
Making a personal injury claim due to potholes can be a long and tiring process, many councils will use Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 to try and defend their position. They can defend on the basis that they had taken reasonable measure to ensure that problems such as potholes are found and dealt with quickly. Nevertheless with the right evidence and proof that they haven’t maintained the road to the standards required you will be able to succeed in your claim.
Speak with a professional lawyer today to see if you can make a personal injury claim
It is important to understand that we don’t handle claims regarding any damage to your vehicle due to potholes. If you wish to make a claim for damages you’ll need to speak with your local authority directly. We focus on any personal injury you may have suffered as a result of driving over a pothole, and we also deal with cyclists and pedestrians who have suffered personal injures due to potholes.
If you feel you have a case and would like to make a claim then we can help. You can contact us by calling our Freephone helpline today on 01495 303124 or on our out of hours number: 079820 721285. You can also fill out one of our online claim forms or drop into our offices in Ebbw Vale to speak with one of our highly trained solicitors.