Accidents causing injury or damage
If you have been injured or your property has been damaged while you were using the road you have the right to make a claim for compensation. However, there is no automatic right to compensation.
The existence of a highway defect does not in itself constitute a legal liability on the council. Although the highway authority maintains the roads within its boundary, the law makes it clear that highway authorities cannot be held responsible for every problem that arises on the road. Instead, highway authorities should have a reasonable regime in place to identify and action safety defects in a timescale corresponding to the level of risk they pose to highway users.
To meet this duty like most other Local Highway Authorities, all roads on the public highway network are routinely inspected either monthly, quarterly, or annually dependant on their road classification. We also investigate reports from the public about localised highway issues, reported via our online reporting system or through the MyStaffs app. Identified defects are risk assessed and given an appropriate category of priority which dictates the timescale for repair.
The council is only liable where it has failed to maintain these systems and processes or where the timescale for completing the repair exceeds that assigned for the level of risk.
Making a claim
Before submitting your claim, please ensure you have evidence of the exact defect that you believe was the cause of your incident and evidence of the damages caused where possible. Once we have received your completed claim form, we will investigate the circumstances leading up to the incident, and the information you have provided. You will be asked to provide evidence to support your claim such as photographs particularly of the incident location.
Your claim form and the results of our investigation will be passed to our claim handlers who will assess legal liability for the incident and inform you if the claim is accepted or rejected. It may be that someone else is responsible for causing the incident, or that the place where it happened is the responsibility of others.
Evidence of financial loss or injury
You will be required to provide receipted invoices to support a claim for damage to property. You may want to take copies for yourself before sending us your original documents, however these will be returned in due course if requested.
By law you must keep your losses to a minimum. For cases involving damage it is advisable to repair the property as quickly as possible. Compensation settlements will only be based on the original loss and not subsequent consequential losses.
If you have been injured, our claims handlers or litigation solicitors may ask for medical evidence from your doctor, or other supporting evidence; for example, if you have included a claim for loss of earnings.
The decision will be based on the facts and the law and will always reflect what conclusion it is believed the courts would come to.
If it is considered a court would reject a claim, then the claim handlers will do the same. This happens when having carefully investigated the circumstances of your claim it is not accepted that the incident has resulted from any negligence or breach of its statutory duty.
If on the other hand, it is considered the courts would award compensation, then they will offer to settle the claim.
It is an offence to make a fraudulent claim for financial loss or personal injury or to exaggerate one. We have a duty to protect public funds and will use the information you provide for the detection and prevention of fraud. Our agents and ourselves may share this information with other government, legal and insurance bodies for these purposes. We may also share this information with other bodies for the auditing or administration of public funds for these purposes.
When we receive your completed claim form and supporting documentation, we will acknowledge your claim. This acknowledgement should be received within 21 days.
Our appointed insurance claims handlers will endeavour to provide you with the decision on liability within 3 months.
Please note that this is only a guideline and can be longer during busy periods such as the wintertime.
Frequently asked questions
We are unable to comment on the likelihood of a claim being successful as it will rely upon several factors.
No. The existence of a defect does not in itself constitute a legal liability. The courts have accepted that we cannot be on hand at all times to repair or put right each and every defect or remove every piece of debris the moment it arises on the road.
We inspect the roads at regular intervals and arranges for repairs or removal of hazardous defects within a reasonable period of time. The courts have accepted that we are not liable if it has taken appropriate measures.
Yes, so long as you can provide details of the exact location. Provided you accurately describe the location - for example with reference to a nearby house, or landmark or a Google image of the location.
We aim to send an acknowledgement email within 21 days of receiving your claim information. Please note that 21 days is only a guideline only and may be longer during busy periods.
We aim to provide our reports to our appointed insurance claims handler as soon as is reasonably possible, however, during busy periods the report may be delayed. Please bear with us.
No. The repair of any defect is not an admission of liability. We have a statutory duty to repair or make safe any defect that is hazardous within a reasonable period of time, once it has become known.
It may be however that the defect was not reported until after your incident. The fact that a defect has been repaired does not imply that it was a hazard. Most repairs are carried out purely as routine maintenance.
Reviews are carried out where significant new evidence is provided or facts are contested. If you have new evidence or disagree with the facts of the claim, you may write to the claims handler involved clearly stating the reasons why you wish your claim to be reviewed. Although a claim may be reviewed this does not mean that the original decision will be altered.
Please follow the appeal process in the letter you have received advising you of the outcome of your claim.
Compensation is not automatic. Just because you have had cause to claim does not by itself mean that you are entitled to receive compensation. Claims are considered and decided according to the highways policies and procedures and the law.
When having weighed all the evidence provided by you, it is believed that the courts would find the highway authority free of liability, then no compensation will be paid.
Yes, this is the one way in which you can recover your loss, subject of course to the insurer accepting the claim.
Make a claim
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