Potholes are a common problem on Britain’s roads. Not only can potholes cause vehicle damage, they can also lead to injury for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
Injuries sustained from potholes can range from minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises, to more serious cases involving soft tissue injuries, broken bones, head injuries and spinal cord injury. In some cases, pothole accidents can even be fatal.
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a pothole, read on to find out how to claim for pothole damage.
Who can make a pothole damage claim?
While we often support cyclists and bikers with claims for pothole damage where they have been injured during a road traffic accident, pedestrians can also make pothole damage claims.
- Cycle accident claims – Cyclists are particularly vulnerable when it comes to potholes, due to the fact they don’t have a vehicle body to protect them. If a cyclist hits a pothole, they can lose balance and fall from their bike or collide with other vehicles, leading to serious injury.
- Motorbike accidents – Potholes can be extremely dangerous for bikers too. If a motorcyclist encounters a pothole, they might not be able to react in time, leading to them being thrown from their motorbike at high speed.
- Trip, slip, and fall claims – Cutbacks mean that the condition of our roads and pavements is deteriorating, which often leads to trips and falls. If a pedestrian is injured due to tripping in a pothole, they may be able to claim compensation for pothole damage.
What the law says about potholes
When making a claim for pothole damage, who you make the claim against will depend on where the pothole was situated.
According to the Highways Act 1980, it is the responsibility of either the highways authority or the local authority to maintain public roads and repair potholes or other road defects. Where the local authority is responsible, you may be able to make a compensation claim against the council.
When a pothole is on a private road, or on land managed by a business, under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 in England and Wales and the Occupiers’ Liability (Scotland) Act 1960 for Scotland, it is the occupier of the premises who has a responsibility to keep people safe.
If you’ve been involved in a pothole accident, you should report the pothole to the relevant authority.
What is required for a pothole claim?
To make a claim for pothole damage, you need to be able to prove that you’ve been injured and that your injury was caused by a road defect, or pothole. Your solicitor will also need to prove that the accident was a result of the negligence of another person, or entity.
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian, to claim for pothole compensation, you need to have fallen in a pothole more than one inch deep or tripped over uneven paving which sticks up by at least an inch (2.5 centimetres).
To be eligible to claim, the injury should have taken place within the last three years. There are some exceptions to the three-year rule; for example, for those under 18, the three-year time restriction does not start until their 18th birthday. There are other exceptions – if you’re not sure if you or a loved one is eligible for compensation, it’s best to get in touch with us as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your claim.
Whatever the circumstances of your accident, we work with carefully selected legal experts who specialise in claims for pothole damage. They are best qualified to help you access legal support, so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
Types of injuries caused by potholes
At The Compensation Experts, we work with personal injury solicitors who have extensive experience in handling pothole damage claims. Our experts are reputable, and the very best in their field. They have experience handling pothole claims that have resulted in:
What evidence do you need to submit your claim?
To claim compensation for pothole damage, you’ll need to provide evidence to support your claim. Your solicitor will gather evidence on your behalf, but any evidence you can obtain yourself can help strengthen your case and impact the outcome of your claim for pothole damage.
Your solicitor will present your claim and the local authority will then conduct their own investigations. Pothole claims can be particularly tricky, as local authorities will often deny liability, arguing that they weren’t aware of the pothole or denying that it even exists.
As part of their defence, the local authority may include details of when the road was inspected. The local authority will provide evidence to prove whether or not they have fulfilled their statutory Section 58 Highways Act Obligations, sending reports on inspections and repairs that have taken place on that location. For this reason, good photographic evidence is crucial in claims for pothole damage.
It can help your claim for pothole damage if you can prove the exact location, position, depth and width of the pothole. Photographs should include landmarks where possible, showing clearly where the defect is. It’s also important to get clear measurements, illustrating the depth and width of the pothole, as well as location on the road. The size of the defect is very important when bringing a claim, so good photos will allow a solicitor to consider this.
You should try to take a photograph of the pothole as soon as you can, at the time of the accident if possible, as road defects can change over time and sometimes repairs can take place before you’ve started your claim. Witnesses may be able to help you gather evidence such as photographs, if your injuries are serious.
As well as photographic evidence, you should keep a note of what happened and when, including as much detail as possible, such as weather conditions and how busy the road was. Take details of witnesses and keep records of your injuries, as well as any damage to your vehicle or other property.
Medical evidence will form an important part of your pothole damage claim, so make sure you keep a record of symptoms and how your injuries progress over time. Also make a note of any treatment, care, or support you receive as a result of your accident. Your solicitor will request your medical records from your GP/hospital on your behalf.
Keep receipts for any expenses you incur as a result of the accident.
If you’re claiming for property damage to your bike, motorbike or other items such as clothing, provide the original purchase receipts if you can, along with photos of the items. You should also provide a quote for repair costs. If you don’t have receipts, then an estimate of the replacement cost on a like for like basis will help. If your bicycle or motorbike is written off, you should try and get a quote for the pre-accident value.
How to start your pothole damage claim
Step 1: To start your claim for pothole damage, you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. We have a network of the best pothole injury solicitors who can help you claim the compensation you’re entitled to.
If you sustained an injury from a pothole as a pedestrian, please visit here to start your claim.
Alternatively, you can call our friendly agents on 0800 182 2189 or request a callback.
Step 2: Once we’ve confirmed that we can proceed with your claim, our compassionate UK customer care team will listen to and understand your situation before putting you in touch with an expert pothole injury solicitor to progress your claim for pothole damage.
Step 3: Your solicitor will gather evidence and will notify the negligent party that you wish to begin claim proceedings. With your solicitor negotiating on your behalf, you will either win the compensation you deserve, or you’ll pay nothing as per our No Win No Fee guarantee.
Amount of compensation for pothole damage
When claiming compensation for pothole damage, the amount you receive will depend on a range of factors, including the severity of your injuries and any financial losses you’ve suffered. Your solicitor will help make sure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your losses.
The compensation award for your injuries is guided by the Judicial College Guidelines and case law. Below we’ve given the recommended compensation brackets as outlined in The Judicial College Guidelines. Please note that these figures are for guidance only and that they only cover the general damages (pain and suffering compensation) portion of your claim.
Where the person injured is in a permanently vegetative state or is unable to follow basic commands or produce any meaningful responses, the compensation award can be between £282,010 to £403,990.
If concentration and memory are affected, the ability to work is reduced, where there is a small risk of epilepsy, and any dependence on others is very limited. There may nonetheless be vestibular symptoms and an effect on senses – the compensation bracket is £43,060 to £90,720.
Soft tissue injuries/whiplash
If you make a full recovery between three months and a year, you can expect to receive between £2,450 to £4,350. If a full recovery is made within three months, we expect you to receive up to £2,450.
Fracture to the collarbone
The compensation figure for a fractured collarbone is between £5,150 to £12,240. The amount of compensation will depend on how serious the fracture is and any permanent residual injuries.
For less significant scarring, you could receive compensation of between £3,950 to £13,740.
Scarring is subjective, so the value of the claim will depend on whether the scarring is permanent and where it is on the body. For example, permanent scarring to an area that is hard to conceal, such as the lower arms, face, and lower leg, can attract a higher award.
Despite the guidelines, based on case law, non-permanent scarring that can be easily concealed may only bring an award of a couple of hundred pounds.
If you have one single scar (not hyperpigmented or keloid) that can be hidden or camouflaged, and there is no significant cosmetic damage, you’re likely to receive compensation at the lowest end of the recommended amount below:
Trivial Scarring: £1,710 to £3,530
As with above, it is subjective, and final compensation figure can often be less than the recommendation.
For injuries where you make a complete recovery within seven days, it’s likely you’ll receive a few hundred pounds; up to £690.
For those who recover within 28 days, the bracket is £690 to £1,370.
Where a full recovery is made within three months, you’re likely to receive compensation of between £1,370 to £2,450.
Less Severe: £1,540 to £5,860
This level of the award will consider the length of the period of disability and the extent to which daily activities and sleep were impacted.
The Claimant will have largely recovered, and any continuing effects will not be grossly disabling.
If you’re diagnosed with PTSD and have made a full recovery within 1-2 years with only minor symptoms remaining, the guidance suggests compensation of £3,950-£8,180.
Because every claim for pothole damage is different, the amount of compensation awarded can also differ from case to case. To get an estimate for your pothole damage claim, visit our Compensation Calculator.
Pothole damage claims we’ve handled
We helped a pregnant woman who tripped on a pothole while crossing the road on her lunch break. Luckily, her unborn baby was unharmed, but she suffered a broken bone in her foot, as well as grazes to her knees and elbows. Compensation figure: £3,637
We helped a courier secure compensation for pothole damage after he stepped into a large pothole while on a delivery. The man’s ankle twisted and he fell, suffering a soft tissue injury to his ankle. Compensation figure: £4,449