The maintenance of road surfaces and their associated safety hardware and signage, are the responsibility of the local authority. Thousands of drivers make insurance claims for damage to their vehicles due to poorly maintained roads every year. Claims alleging full or partial responsibility for a road accident are much less common. Generally speaking our roads in the UK are kept up to a high standard, with potholes being the most common problem.
Accidents as a result of a poor road surface
As mentioned earlier, potholes can sometimes be a problem on the roads. They are often caused by either subsidence or frost damage due to extreme weather conditions. If a car drives over a pothole at speed, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle or possibly have a tyre blowout. Either situation can easily lead to an accident.
Poor general road surface quality can also be caused by heavy traffic levels, or excessive numbers of minor road repairs which eventually degrade over time.
Accidents caused by poorly maintained barriers, signals, markings or road signage
Damaged or poorly designed crash barriers, signage or road markings can all cause potential problems for road users. For example if a vehicle skids off the road and breaks through a poorly constructed crash barrier into the path an oncoming vehicle, the local authority could be held partially responsible for the accident.
How to take further action
If you think you have evidence to support a claim against a local authority because of an accident or damage to your vehicle as a result of a poorly maintained road or similar issue, then you should speak to your insurer or claims advisor for further advice. They will probably ask you to send them any information you can on how the defect either caused or contributed to the incident. Once they receive this information they should be able to advise you as to whether your claim is likely to be successful and if it is worth pursuing.
If the road surface was is in some way affected by the actions of another party, like an oil spillage or other material lying on the road surface, it may be possible to claim against them instead. Seeking legal advice would probably be advisable in this situation, your claims advisor or insurer may able to help in this regard.
For more information on our services please give us a call us on 0845 6768898 or start your claim enquiry using our online claim form.