Guide To Pothole Damage Claims
According to Which?, local authorities in the UK pay out a huge amount in compensation to motorists for damage to vehicles caused by potholes in roads. As many motorists could be unlucky enough to be a victim of pothole damage, Tiger.co.uk has prepared this guide to provide information ranging from the damage a pothole can cause, to advice on making a claim.
What Damage Can A Pothole Cause?
Hitting a pothole at low speed can cause damage to tyres, wheels and even steering alignment. In the majority of cases this type of damage will be minimal and will not lead to a car insurance claim.
Hitting a pothole at higher speeds, however, can result in more severe damage. Suspension failure, axle damage and the risk of losing control and causing an accident all become more probable. This level of damage could warrant a claim to the car insurance provider.
In both of these cases making a claim to your local council authority would be reasonable.
What Do I Do If I Hit A Pothole?
After hitting a pothole and when safe to do so, stop the car and check for any damage. Any damage to wheels and tyres should be apparent by visual inspection, but damage to the suspension, axle or steering column might not be easily visible from an initial inspection. Common symptoms of this type of damage are increased vibration, or the steering pulling to the left or the right. If this is a possibility, get to a garage as soon as possible to get the vehicle checked.
What Do I Do If I Want To Make A Claim?
Here is our step by step guide to making a claim for pothole damage to the local council or local highway agency.
Step 1 – Gather Proof
When making a claim for pothole damage, evidence is required. After the pothole has been hit and when it is safe to do so, take a picture of it and make rough measurements. Also note its precise location including the street name and where it was positioned on the road.
Step 2 – Report It
Report the pothole to the local highway agency or council as soon as you can. This not only provides a record of contact if the claim goes to court but may also help other motorists.
Step 3 – Do Your research
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, drivers are able to gather information on how regularly the road is maintained and when the last inspection was conducted. This information can be obtained from the Highways Maintenance department of the local council and could provide valuable information to substantiate a claim.
Step 4 – Make A Claim
To make a claim drivers need to contact the local council or highways agency either by letter or email. Making a phone call will not be sufficient. In the correspondence a full description of the incident, where it took place, and at what time needs to be provided, along with information that was collected at the scene including photos and measurements and copies of bills, receipts and confirmation of repairs and other claims costs from the insurance company.
Step 5 – Be Willing To Settle
If the council makes an offer, then consider it carefully. Analyse the case and decide whether it is worth pursuing it further and be mindful of the potential costs involved. If the council has carried out regular inspections and followed the code of practice then it is unlikely that any further claim will succeed.
Step 6 – Remain Calm
Always remain calm and pragmatic. When communicating with local authorities getting angry will not help your cause. If you have had a successful pothole claim or would like to share your experience in order to help others then we would love to hear your story.
Leave a comment below.