How To Claim For Injuries Caused By Potholes25th Jun 2019
Can I Claim Against The Council?
Potholes are a menace. They’re more than just an inconvenience: they can cause serious injuries to drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and even pedestrians.
Councils may be short of cash but they’re still legally obliged to provide you with safe roads. So if you’ve been injured you have the right to claim compensation from the local authority at fault.
What Can I Claim For?
Typical injury compensation claims include:
- Drivers – a pothole causing a driver to lose control, resulting in a serious accident.
- Motorcyclists are highly vulnerable to pothole-related crash injuries because they can be thrown from their bike while travelling at speed. Typical injuries can include broken collarbones, arms, wrists, legs, knees, ankles and associated soft tissue damage.
- Cyclists suffer similar injuries – even at lower speeds. This is because they wear less protection than motorcyclists. Cyclists can suffer serious head injuries if their helmet fails to protect them.
- Pedestrians can slip or trip over potholes when crossing the road. Claims can include broken or sprained wrists. They can suffer serious injuries if they fall into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
How Much Can I Claim?
Injury claims start at around £1,800 and can run to seven figures for the most serious cases. Examples include:
- £1 million+ for life-changing injuries (head, brain, spine) that result in significant loss of earnings over a lifetime, require regular/round-the-clock care and also adaptations to the home
- £2,000-£4,000 for broken bones – much more if there is a loss of earnings
- £1,800-£2,000 for soft tissue injuries (sprains) and bruising.
Claiming For Loss Of Earnings
Anyone can claim for loss of earnings. But it’s particularly important if you’re a self-employed tradesperson and your livelihood depends on you being able to travel quickly and easily from one job to the next.
Every minute or hour lost is time that you cannot earn a living. You’ll never get that time back – the earning potential is lost forever so you deserve to be compensated for it.
What If The Council Won’t Pay My Pothole Claim?
Few councils want to pay pothole claims. So if you try claiming yourself, they may refuse your claim. They may deny blame by saying that the pothole was not reported to them.
Get a litigation solicitor to claim on your behalf and your case stands a much greater chance of success.
We can claim through the county court on your behalf. We handle injury claims on a ‘no win no fee’ basis – so there is no financial risk to you.
And remember, every time concerned road-users report a pothole and take legal action, it prompts the councils to fix the holes to stop them from causing further injuries to other people.
How To Report Potholes
Reporting potholes doesn’t just save motorists from misery – it also means the council is obliged to fix them.
The council could be liable to legal action if it failed to fix a reported pothole which then has resulted in an accident.
The longer the pothole is left, the bigger and more dangerous it becomes. Potholes are particularly hazardous when it has rained. They can lie hidden beneath puddles; road-users don’t see them until it is too late.
There is a ‘report pothole’ page on the Gov.uk website. This redirects you to the relevant council (based on a postcode). It also refers you to Highways England (if the pothole is on a motorway or A-road it manages) and to websites in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
You can report potholes in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch by clicking on the BCP Council Potholes and Highway Defects page. One of the questions the site asks is whether anyone has been hurt or any property damaged. We recommend that you contact us for independent legal advice first – book your free chat here.
Find Out More About Pothole Compensation Claims
For more information, contact:
- Bournemouth office – Simon Steele-Williams (Partner) or Gary Plumb (trainee legal executive)
- Poole office – Adrian Cormack (Partner), Chris Whittle (Partner), Brian Parsons (personal injury executive) or – particularly if an injury has been misdiagnosed or treated incorrectly – medical negligence executive Peter Graves.