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Potholes: Can I Make a Compensation Claim Against the Council?

With the sink hole of Mancunian Way in Manchester causing extensive disruption to traffic, drivers affected by less-publicised pot holes may face the daily risk of danger to their vehicles, with cyclists facing potentially serious injuries. 


The BBC recently reported that the Anglesey council in Wales has seen a significant increase in public liability claims, having paid out £793,234 between 2010-11 and 2014-15 on a total of 311 insurance claims. A council report noted "This increase is mostly due to an increase in highway-related claims, such as damage to vehicles on potholes.”

When is a Pothole Cause for Council Concern?

The flow of traffic in Manchester has recently suffered due to the large sink hole on Mancunian Way, which the Manchester Evening News has since named the city’s “new, favourite attraction”.

A Manchester City Council spokesperson said that United Utilities were “working closely with the city council, to assess the collapse. A repair plan is now in place to stabilise the hole and make the cavity watertight to allow engineers to restore the damage.”

The sink hole, named “an abyss” in some press coverage, has been cordoned off, with sufficient warnings for the public to not cross the safety measures. There are some people who may well see potholes on the roads they often travel in a similar light.

In a previous blog, Slater and Gordon Principal Lawyer, Paul Kitson, addressed the question of when is a pothole not a pothole. Like the Mancunian Way sink hole, pot holes are created by poor weather conditions. Councils are legally obliged under the Highways Act 1980 to maintain roads and footpaths within their boundaries, except for trunk roads which are maintained by the Highways Agency.

Whereas many pot holes may not be deemed an ‘abyss’ as with the Mancunian Way sink hole, the potential risk to vulnerable cyclists and damage to vehicles can make them a very real problem. In the event you are injured or involved in an accident caused by a pot hole, you should gather as much evidence as possible, including photographic evidence and witnesses.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people who have suffered injuries due to potholes and road defects.

If you were injured in public in an accident that wasn’t your fault, call our Personal Injury Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you. Your claim will be assessed on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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