Every spring and summer the damage from the previous winter becomes apparent as new potholes appear on our local roads or existing ones become worse. The RAC’s latest figures show that the proportion of call-outs related to pothole damage is the third highest since records began over a decade ago. The problem seems to be so widespread that even if you have not been affected you probably know someone who has. So what can you do if your vehicle is damaged? We take a look at the types of damage your vehicle could sustain and how to go about claiming compensation.
Damage from potholes
The damage sustained from hitting a pothole typically includes burst tyres, broken wheels, or even a broken suspension and the cost to repair them could mount up to significant amounts of money.
Who is responsible?
The local highway authority is responsible for maintaining local roads in good condition. As an example, Double Dee Autos is located in Bromley, so the local highway authority is the London Borough of Bromley. Responsibility for trunk roads will come under Transport for London, while Highways England is responsible for motorways.
What should you do?
If you are considering putting in a claim for compensation, there are a number of steps you should follow to ensure you have all the evidence you need to submit it.
- Evidence. Take photos of the pothole and damage to your vehicle. Make a note of the time and date of the incident and record the exact location where it took place. To help put it into context use any props you can get hold of, such as a drinks bottle or shoe, to show the depth, length, and width of the pothole.
- Report it. You may decide not to submit a claim, but it is worth reporting the pothole anyway. This way you are preventing others from potentially suffering greater damage and it gives the highway authority the opportunity to repair it before it gets any worse.
- Check and repair. If you think your vehicle may be damaged it is worth getting it checked. Repair any problems before they escalate into something more serious, and costly, to fix. If you are planning to get any damage repaired, it is worth getting three quotes to show the highway authority that it was competitively priced. For more serious damage, contact your insurance provider and follow their advice.
- Submit your claim. Check whether or not there is a standard application form that your local highway authority needs claims to be submitted on and collect all your evidence so that you can submit everything together.
- Rejection? If your claim is rejected, don’t despair. Do some research to find out whether the local authority was already aware of the pothole but did nothing about it – you can find out by submitting a Freedom of Information request.