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Potholes - the plague of the road user

View profile for Pauline Smith
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What to do if your car is damaged by a pothole

Did you know that councils in the United Kingdom receive a complaint about a pothole on average every 46 seconds? And that a staggering 700,000 complaints about them were made up to August 2019?

And councils are taking this problem very seriously. In the year 2018/2019, almost £1 billion pounds was spent by them to tackle this ever growing issue.

So what are potholes, what causes them and why are there so many of them?

Potholes are holes and indentations in the road surface, and are caused by water entering the ground under the pavement, or in a crack in the road surface. The water then freezes underneath the asphalt or tarmac, expanding and contracting and making the surface above weaker. As the weight of vehicles continually pass over the weakened areas in the road, pieces of it start to break up, and erodes away – before too long you have a pothole.

They are more likely to appear in colder climates that have a high level of rainfall and as we in Britain can testify, it doesn’t seem to have stopped raining for any length of time for months now. There are more vehicles on the road than before, so the UK’s roads do take some hammering.

In the year up to August 2019, almost £2 million was paid out in claims specifically in relation to potholes, whether this be for vehicle damage, or personal injury caused in a car, or even by tripping in a hole in the road. 

My own local council has engaged in an £8 million programme of works to improve the borough’s roads and pavements, to make them safer, and many other council are following suit.

If you hit a pothole and damage your car what can you do?

First of all check the damage, and that you can drive your car safely. Then get this checked over by a garage and get an estimate of fee for repairs and a detailed description of the works to be done. Take good photographs of the defect which will need to be sent or taken in to the council along with the estimate from the garage. They should be able to offer you a reimbursement for the repairs.

What if you fall in, or are injured in a road traffic accident, as a result of a pothole? 

The key thing to note is that a council are unlikely to entertain your claim unless the defect is 40 mm or more in depth, so detailed, dated photographs showing a measurement are key. Make a note of the weather conditions when you fell, were you able to see the hazard, and report this to the council. They may give you a complaint number which you should keep. It is likely that you might need legal advice in this circumstance, so engage the services of a solicitor who is able to formally present your claim to the council. 

Here at Stephensons our personal injury specialists have many years of experience handling all types of injury claims. Call us now on 01616 966 229.