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Pothole Damage & Costs - The Saga Continues

By Principal Lawyer, Occupiers and Public Liability

With the onset of wintery weather the problem of potholes become a never-ending nightmare for local authorities.

Excessive rain and freezing temperatures provides ample opportunity for the appearance of potholes especially in areas affected by significant flooding where local authorities end up paying out millions of pounds in both repair costs and personal injury compensation.

The fact of the matter is that local authorities have a duty to maintain our roads. This is a statutory duty and rightly so. In return for our taxes we expect our roads to be at least in a reasonable state of repair.

If we therefore come across a pothole which has been left unrepaired for any significant length of time that damages our car or bicycle we would look to seek appropriate redress. This is however nothing less than a vicious circle.

I know from speaking to experts that the only way our pothole saga can be stopped is for sufficient funds to be spent on roads so that they are built and indeed repaired to a standard where potholes are less likely to occur.

Simply patching up potholes endlessly with repairs is only dealing with the problem in the short term. It does not prevent subsequent potholes from appearing and only results in yet further accidents and personal injury claims.

I say this is a vicious circle as the only way to stop the circle is for the UK Government to inject more money into funding road repairs and road maintenance in particular. As we all know however, the Government does not have the funds required and is looking to cut local authority budgets rather than extend them. As a result, this saga looks likely to remain with us for some considerable time.

I have avoided specifically commenting on how potholes personally affect road users. As a cyclist in Central London, I am acutely aware of the poor maintenance of some of our roads with standards differing from one London borough to another.

My ongoing concern is where potholes not only damage people’s vehicles but in particular cause cyclists to come off their bikes or fall through no fault of their own and suffer significant injuries as a result.

It is not therefore a problem we should allow to be ignored.

Tristan Hallam is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in cycling accident claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in central London.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people injured in accidents through no fault of their own. Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Merseyside, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Derby & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire & in Hull, Yorkshire.