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The 2018 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey has suggested that UK roads are getting worse. The report states that the cumulative effect of an ageing network, considerable underfunding, increased levels of traffic and wetter winters, has led to approximately 12% of local roads being in poor structural condition. According to the report it would take around £9 billion to bring local roads back up to scratch.

These roads are costing car drivers money – we’re going to explore what should be done to fix this problem and how you can claim compensation if your car is damaged due to bad roads. Local Authorities have a legal obligation to demonstrate ‘reasonable care’ in the maintenance of the roads under the Highways Act 1980, so it is important that you report any potholes to your local authority.

So, what can be done to fix the problem? Well more money would be a start…The Government have added an extra £100million to available funds for local councils to sort out the roads. As well as this, the Road Investment Strategy has promised to invest £15billion in more than 100 major building schemes between 2015-2020. The Government has also pledged £6billion for maintenance and repair of local roads between 2015-2020.

Part of the problem is of course the weather. The UK has experienced some intense weather conditions recently, which impacts all manner of terrains. When water gets into crack in road surfaces it then freezes – from here it expands and therefore makes the crack even bigger. This is repeated and eventually turns into potholes. The harsher the winter, the worse the potholes, unfortunately.

So, if you want to claim compensation if your car is damaged due to poor road conditions, this is how to go about it.

1.Collect evidence.
Do this as soon as the event has taken place. Take photos of the pothole and if you are able to, measure the width and depth of the pothole.

2.Make a report.
Tell the relevant local authority. You can use websites such as or to do this, or contact the council responsible for the road. You should tell them the place, road name and number (if relevant) – also include the contact details of any witnesses, as well as photos and measurements.

3.Find out last inspection by the council.
This evidence can be useful should your claim be rejected. To access this you should submit a Freedom of Information request to the authority responsible for the road – your local authority for local roads, or for major roads contact Highways England, Transport Scotland or the Welsh Government.

4.Make your case.
Write to your local authority – explain the situation in a polite and firm manner. Include why they are responsible for the damage to your vehicle (remember it’s their legal responsibility), full details of incident, and any other relevant information (such as the road inspection dates from council).

5.Be rational.
It is important that you remain calm, polite, yet firm during the process. If the council has followed the national code of practice then your claim may fail – however, if not, stick to your claim!

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Posted on 12th April 2018 at 9:26 PM

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