Spring may finally be here but last month’s freezing weather has left the UK’s roads full of potholes in all shapes and sizes. These are reportedly the cause of an estimated 1 in 10 motorist breakdowns. Read on to find out how potholes form, why they’re dangerous and how you can claim for compensation if you suffer a pothole-related injury.
Heavy rain penetrates the cracks in the tarmac, which have appeared as the result of the material’s natural ageing process. At sub-zero temperatures, the water in the cracks freezes and expands to push on the tarmac from within and create bubbles of air. These bubbles increase in size as water repeatedly freezes and thaws during winter and, as heavy traffic passes through the road, the tarmac collapses and voila, a pothole is formed.
Local authorities across the country are spending thousands of pounds on repairing the wear and tear of roads. The pothole problem is worse than usual as a result of the Beast from the East in early March, and its mini version later in the month, causing mayhem across the country. According to RAC’s rescue services, pothole-related breakdowns have doubled since the extreme weather conditions.
Hitting a pothole can damage a car’s shock absorber, suspensions springs or wheels, and in addition to a costly repair it can be the cause of personal injuries. This is especially true for motorcyclists and cyclists as they have less material protecting them, which, unfortunately, increases the possibilities of them suffering a serious injury after a pothole encounter.
Reporting a pothole is easily done online. Visit the website of your local council and navigate to its “report it” section, where you’ll need to look for the “road and pavement problems” section. This might be named slightly different depending on your council’s website. If you spot a pothole about the size of a dinner plate, we encourage you to let your council know so that they can make the necessary repairs.
If your vehicle has been damaged by a pothole and you’ve suffered a personal injury as a result, you may be able to make a claim against the local council. In addition to the standard steps to take when you suffer an accident, it’s important to gather evidence of the pothole on the spot, including measuring its depth and width, noting its position on the road and your direction of travel. It’s a good idea to take photos of the pothole from several angles.
Although section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 allows councils to defend claims on the basis that they had taken reasonable measures to ensure that potholes are dealt with promptly, you may be able to prove that they have not followed the system. A personal injury solicitor can help you analyse your council’s maintenance programme and consider your specific case to making a claim.
As specialist injury claim solicitors in London, Romain Coleman can help you make a road injury claim. If you’ve suffered an accident due to a road defect such as a pothole, we can help you assess whether you are entitled to compensation.
To discuss your specific circumstances and how we can help you, please contact us on 0208 520 4555 or fill out our online form and we will get in touch. Our primary concern is always to get the best possible result for you.