If a pothole injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Injuries from pothole accidents can range from sprains to fractures, with recovery involving rest, physiotherapy, or surgery.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a pothole accident, we can help. If your injuries were caused by the actions or negligence of another party, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a road injury compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
Hazards such as potholes, uneven paving stones and raised manhole covers can cause trips and falls; resulting in serious injury to cyclists and pedestrians.
Pedestrians and cyclists, in particular, may sustain serious personal injury from trips, slips and falls, but potholes can also damage the wheels and suspension of motor vehicles.
What is the council's responsibility?
'Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980'
Maintenance of pavements and highways is generally the responsibility of the local councils' or authorities' highways departments who should follow the standard guidelines set out in Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980.
Therefore where an accident has occurred due to an inadequately maintained road or pavement surface, any claims for injuries sustained should be brought against the local council.
Is the local council always liable?
Councils are expected to rectify faults within a reasonable period of inspecting and identifying defects. Where defects are known but the information not acted upon, a council may be liable for any accident as a result of that defect.
However, section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 states if that a highway authority can prove that it had taken "such care as in all the circumstances was reasonably required to secure that the part of the highway to which the action relates . . ." it may defend any claim against it.
So if a local council can prove through its inspection records that the location was visited recently and there were no defects at that time, it can defend the Claim.
For example, if the accident occurred on the 1st July on a road which had a 3 monthly inspection period, and the last inspection had been on 1st May, then the council could argue that as the accident was between the inspection dates they should not be at fault.
Sometimes hazards are created by other authorities - such as utility companies digging up roads. Accidents may occur where the road surface has not been finished to the correct standard or a hole has been left unprotected.
In these cases any claims for compensation should be brought against the organisation responsible, so it is important to note who that is.
Injuries sustained on a private road or property?
If the accident occurred whilst on land not owned by the local authority, or a private house, any claim would be made against the landowner or occupant. Again it is important to determine who this is.
How do I make a claim?
A claimant must demonstrate that the pothole caused a danger to traffic or pedestrians and that defect occurred as a result of the failure to maintain or repair that highway.
To show the pothole was a danger it is important to gather evidence quickly. Notes detailing the exact location of the defect in relation to the road or pavement, and the direction of travel when the accident occurred will help. Also document the road name and those nearby, and the time and date.
To help show the position of the defect in its location take photographs from several angles.
Pavements and highways are not expected to be totally smooth and level and there is often leeway for uneven pavements. A ‘depth of trip' of at least 2cm is actionable; so obtain measurements of length, depth and width where practicable.
Take contact details of any witnesses to the accident. They may be able to provide evidence should the need arise to make a claim.
Photographing any injuries or damage sustained as well as the road defect will help support your claim.
Evidence that may help your claim
Local shops or businesses may have CCTV cameras showing footage of the accident or other accidents that have occurred in the same location. Most CCTV records are deleted after 28 days so it is important to check promptly.
If the hazard has been reported recently (outside of inspection periods) but not repaired, then the council may be liable.
Do I have a pothole injury claim?
If you've been injured in an accident that was caused another person or organisation in the last 3 years, you will be entitled to make a claim for financial compensation.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
Can I claim compensation if I was partly at fault?
The law concerning liability (or blame) for an accident is complex, and varies depending on the situation.
In our 2023 Road Injury Claimant Survey, 5.24% of injured road users believed they were partly responsible for their injuries, or were uncertain.
You can often still claim compensation even if you were partly to blame, as cases with shared fault usually settle with a split-liability agreement.
How long do I have to make a pothole injury claim?
In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of your accident or injury.
If you were injured when you were under 18, a parent, guardian or adult 'litigation friend' can make a claim on your behalf. Once you turn 18, you have until your 21st birthday to start an injury claim.
What if the driver was uninsured or untraceable?
If the driver responsible for the injury is either uninsured or untraceable, a claim can be pursued through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).
The MIB is an independent that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraced (unidentified) drivers.
How much compensation can I claim for a pothole injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Pothole accident injury
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of earnings (including future earnings loss and retraining costs), vehicle damage and repairs, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as pain medication and psychological support.
How did your injury happen?
The claims process for a pothole accident injury will depend on where and how the accident happened. Click the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your road accident claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning road accident claims.
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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee road accident claim, we are open:
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Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
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Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.