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Pothole disaster, council help required!. V.long sorry

(8 Posts)
MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism Fri 01-Jul-11 10:22:31

On a Saturday in early June, my parents (ageing natch), hit a large pothole in the road. So large (over a metre long) that it split the wheel and destroyed the alloy. Luckily it wasn't too far from home so they were able to get a friend to tow them home. They weren't injured, but the wheel was entirely destroyed.

They called the council straightaway to inform them of the pothole and to ask how they could go about claiming for some of the cost of replacing the wheel, and was told that the incident would be logged and that they would be contacted on the Monday.

When nothing was heard on the Monday, my Mum called on the Tuesday and the person she spoke to could find no trace on the computer system of the incident or of the pothole being logged. She told Mum that there was very little chance of the council being held liable unless there was a history of the pothole having been logged and not repaired.

About a week later after chasing, she said that she would forward the details to the claims handler. She asked for the location and provided a map but no scale, she also asked for exact dimensions of the hole.

This road is a country road, well used (milk tankers, lorries, tractors etc) but not fully resurfaced since 1934. There are instead spasmodic repairs.

When the fairly persistent rain had ceased Mum went to measure it and discovered that it had been repaired.

The car repairs cost over £600 (due mainly to the cost of the replacement alloy wheel), money my parents can't easily afford.

Today they received an email from the claims handling organisation saying bog off basically. It included a list of when previous inspections had been made - July last year, November last year and February this year. They say that this shows the road is regularly inspected.

It also includes a list of the potholes that needed repairing after each inspection. 3 for the July, 1 for the November inspection and None for the Feb inspection.

Now, perhaps I am too cynical, but it seems incredible that after all the snow and ice of this winter that there were no potholes at all in February. I am cynical that the inspection even took place (there is no log for it as for the other visits).

Plus a metre long pothole does not develop over night. And the fact that the log that should have been made after my parent's initial report wasn't there also makes me suspicious that it had not been previously reported and lost in the system.

Is there any hope at all? Any tack you could suggest taking to the council? Please help.

Collaborate Fri 01-Jul-11 10:57:07

Look here to see if it was reported.

nocake Fri 01-Jul-11 11:34:51

That website also contains a guide to claiming for damage caused by potholes. Just because it hasn't been reported doesn't mean the council aren't liable. They have a responsibility to monitor and maintain the roads, not just react to reports of potholes.

belledechocchipcookie Fri 01-Jul-11 11:39:47

Sorry, I disagree nocake. The legal stand on this is that if they didn't know then they are not liable (unless all of this has changed in the past 6 years).

nocake Fri 01-Jul-11 11:52:59

Councils have to take reasonable measures to ensure potholes are found and dealt with swiftly (section 58 of the highways act) so they should have a system in place to ensure they regularly inspect and repair roads. If their system does not meet the recommended standards or they haven't followed it (i.e. haven't inspected the road frequently enough) then they may be liable for damage caused by a pothole.

belledechocchipcookie Fri 01-Jul-11 11:57:35

They have a log of their inspections. If it can be proven that the council knew about the pothole and did nothing then they are liable. It's probable that the hole was not there when they inspected the road previously.

MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism Sat 02-Jul-11 07:05:41

Belle Just a quick question though, how do we know that the logs are accurate? After all the report that Mum made on the Saturday was not on the system on the Monday, and it seems massively unlikely that this patch of road had no potholes when it was inspected in February after all the ice and snow.

(Actually from memory there were tons of potholes when I drove down to see my parents for their birthdays in mid Feb).

belledechocchipcookie Sat 02-Jul-11 11:42:37

That's the million dollar question. There are several legal cases where people have sustained an injury by slipping over in shops because the floor has been wet/spillage. In order for them to claim under personal injury they have to show that the shop staff were made aware of the spillage because if they don't know, they can't clean it up. Is there CCTV? Newspaper articles that write about the state of that road with pictures? Did your parents claim for this on their insurance?

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