Potholes, potholes, potholes

A message from Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert:

It’s thought potholes cause up to £700m-worth of damage to vehicles across the UK each year. Whenever we ask what you’d like us to campaign on, huge swathes say “potholes, potholes, potholes”. So, in time for winter road issues, we’ve launched our new 10,000-word (you don’t need to read it all) Pothole compensation guide.   Here are a few nuggets:

  • What is a pothole? The legal definition is a defect in the road over 4cm deep (roughly the diameter of two 20p coins) that causes an immediate risk or hazard.
  • ‘I claimed £530 from the Highways Agency.’ If the authority in charge of the road (eg, council, Highways Agency, TfL) was negligent – in other words if it didn’t fix a reported pothole quickly enough or spot it within time limits – it should pay for your repairs. Over to David on our forum… “I hit a pothole on the M20 motorway on my journey home from work, and suffered a cut to a tyre. I claimed from the Highways Agency and got £530.”
  • You must prove it was the pothole wot dunnit. Just saying your car was damaged isn’t enough, you will need to get your mechanic to vouch for this. Our step-by-step guide explains how to report a pothole, check if you’re eligible, gather the evidence and make a claim. Be warned, claiming will often take time and can be tricky.
  • The moral question – is it fair to claim? It’s important to understand you can only claim if the authority was negligent. So you’ve no claim anyway if a cannonball drops off a truck, causing a pothole, which two minutes later damages your car. Even when you are eligible, our guide helps explain your rights, but you must decide whether to act on them.Some argue compensation deprives authorities of much-needed cash to fix roads, others that the more people pursue their rights, the more incentive there is for authorities to improve roads rather than deal with claims.

Full info in our new Pothole Damage Claims guide. Please remember this is the guide’s 1st incarnation. We’ve spent months researching it but not put it into practice yet, and to constantly improve it we need your Pothole damage guide feedback.                                                              Martin Lewis MSE

To find out how to report a pothole, and previous articles on the subject, search under Potholes on this website.  

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