Hit a Pothole? Then you need to read this
If you drive in and around Thatcham and Newbury then you’ll be as aware as I am that we seem to have our fair share of potholes on our roads. You may have even hit one recently.
Fear not though, take a few minutes to read this week’s article and you’ll not only find out what action you will need to take to ensure your vehicle is OK, but if damage has been caused you may be entitled to ask the council to pay for this.
Everyone knows that sound when you go over a pothole. Of course, you pull over to see the damage and it’s probably not good. Often driving into potholes causes damage to the wheels and tyres of the car, it can also knock out your wheel alignment. This can obviously lead to unexpected repair bills.
But we have some good news for you. You may not have to pay this repair bill out of your own pocket in the long term. In fact, the relevant authority who is in charge of the road may be liable. If they haven’t dealt with a pothole on their streets or roads, they may have to pay you compensation if your vehicle has been damaged.
This guide is going to instruct you on the process of compensation. It’s not definitive that your claim will be successful as there are a few variables. But it’s definitely worth taking a look.
You will Need Evidence
For any compensation claim, you will need to gather evidence. This is going to involve documenting what has happened and showing the authority as much as information as possible. The best thing you can do is take photos immediately. You want to capture what the pothole looks like, including the size and depth and its position in the road.
You also want to show what your car looks like after the damage. This includes taking photos of any damage you can see. This is going to show the relevant authority that you’re telling the truth and that it was a pothole on their road that caused the damage.
Don’t forget to capture all of the street and location details of the pothole. If you’re driving somewhere new, it’s easy to forget where it is. But take the time to stop and write down notes or take photographs.
Collect Repair Bills
Before the relevant authority is going to process a compensation claim, they will need to know the repair costs of your vehicle. At Fergies, we can carry out a vehicle health check and see what the repairs are going to be. Be sure to keep all of the paperwork and quotes you receive. This is going to be submitted later on as evidence of the compensation from the incident with the pothole.
Get in Contact with Authorities
Of course, you need to tell the relevant authority exactly what has happened with the pothole. This means contacting them directly and sending over all the evidence and documents that you have supporting what happened. After all, you need to prove to them it was a pothole they should have repaired and that damaged your vehicle while you were driving responsibly.
Who you contact will depend on what road you were driving on and the location of the incident. The local council is going to be in charge of normal streets and roads. But if you are driving on a motorway or A-road it’s going to depend on what country you’re in. For example, if you’re in England, you need to get in contact with Highways England. In Scotland the relevant authority is Transport Scotland, Wales will be Traffic Wales and Northern Ireland is the Department for Infrastructure.
Await Their Findings
Let’s be truthful and remember that it could take a long time for the relevant authority to get back to you with an answer. No doubt, there is already a waiting list and you will have to join it. If things go smoothly, you could receive their findings within a few weeks. But it’s likely to take a couple of months.
Also, remember that it’s not guaranteed you will receive any compensation. They may try to reject that the pothole exists or caused any damage to your vehicle. This is not as uncommon as you would think, so be prepared to hear their answer and think about the next steps in the process.
Take it to Small Claims Court
If you think that their findings are unfair and you’re not happy, you can consider going to the small claims court. This will allow you to put forward your evidence about the pothole. But this option should be thought about very carefully. You may have to seek legal advice, as well as pay legal fees if you lose. You’ve got to be 100 percent sure you’re willing to take that risk with this pothole claim.
At Fergies, our primary focus is to ensure your vehicle is safe and in a roadworthy condition. It’s not uncommon for wheel alignment to be affected after hitting a pothole. Even if your tyre and wheel appear to be undamaged it’ll be worth popping in so that we can check your wheel alignment and carry out a quick health check.
This will not only ensure your safety but check that your tyres will not have their service life reduced by bad alignment.
So if you’re in Thatcham or Newbury give us as a call today to book your appointment.