£2,000 pothole win could open floodgates

Potholes in the UK road network now cost UK drivers over £500 million pounds a year.

That’s not a typo – five hundred million pounds.

You could be forgiven for thinking the council workers who reject the endless flow of claims from disgruntled motorists are running a chain of tyre depots across the country. If you haven’t suffered damage to your own wheels or tyres from potholes yourself, then I am sure you know someone who has.

Up until now cash-strapped councils have used all sorts of petty and devious excuses to avoid picking up the tab for the damage despite the fact that in most cases the motorist is merely a victim of the councils inability to maintain the roads. I suspect the problem is that too much of our council tax is currently going towards paying for their own pensions plans (now estimated to be nearly a third of all council tax receipts) and not enough is going towards repairing our deteriorating road network.

But last month the game suddenly changed.

Potholes in the Coventry area had done so much damage to Hamilton Bland’s Mercedes that the local garage estimated it would take £2,000 to repair the wheels and damaged tyres.

Bland got the usual runaround from the council but refused give up. Ignoring the council’s claim that it was not to blame and that he would be facing a huge legal bill if he went to court, Bland refused to give in to the bullying tactics. He took the council to court for pothole damage to his car – and won.

Speaking to the Mail, Bland said “ Taking the council to court was a risk I was prepared to take. I always felt I was right – you don’t have to be the world’s greatest detective to know the road had some dangerous potholes. Had a cyclist hit one of the potholes it would have been very serious indeed”.

So, if you suffer damage to your vehicle from potholes here’s what you should do:

  1. Take photos.
  2. Get witnesses if possible.
  3. Get two quotes for the damage from reputable garages.
  4. Report the pothole.
  5. Put in your claim to the local council.
  6. Do not be put off by the disclaimer replies that are sent out as a matter of routine irrespective of the claim.
  7. Use the Freedom of Information Act
  8. Above all, remember that a legal precedent has now been set.
  9. Visit the www.potholes.co.uk website for more advice and information.
  10. Be persistent.

Most drivers simply couldn’t be bothered to pursue their claim or wrongly believe the council are not liable. Every council works in a different way and the payout systems seem to be completely random.

It is also worth searching on Google to se if their are threads from similarly grieved motorists in your area.

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