Financial & Legal News

Pothole injury compensation is on the increase

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Potholes are an ever persistent problem for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, all of whom can be injured and go on to claim compensation for their injuries, which range from minor falls to much more serious road traffic accidents.

With an estimate that there are about six potholes per mile on council-controlled roads, it is a problem that is getting worse, according to a new report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

Potholes develop over time and are caused by groundwater and the build-up of traffic. The wet and freezing weather over winter months has exacerbated the problem on the UK roads and pavements.

When are Potholes deemed unsafe?

“Whether you’re a driver, cyclist, pedestrian or vulnerable road user, potholes are becoming an ever-increasing problem and something we are aware of when clients are injured because of them,” said Personal Injury Lawyer, Lisa Anderson.

“A pothole is normally considered to be unsafe when there is a depth of 22mm on a footpath or 40mm on a road.  However, this may not be relevant in areas where the footfall may be increased due to a school or town centre, where a higher standard of maintenance should be undertaken by the Local Authority.”

“In cold wet winters the water in existing potholes freezes causing the water to expand and then potholes gradually appear and get bigger and so do injuries sustained,” added Lisa.

Pothole injury claims

If you have been injured by falling due to a pothole you may be eligible for personal injury compensation.  In the past financial year, three councils in England have paid out more than £500,000 in pothole injury compensation.

“Under S41 of the Highways Act 1980 the Highway Authority has a duty to maintain public roads and pavements and they must be able to show that they have inspection systems in force,” said Lisa Anderson.

“However, the local authority is not always liable as some potholes may have been caused by companies carrying out work, following which they have failed to resurface the road or pavement to an acceptable standard, if this was the case a claim would be brought against the company who carried out the work.”

“Similarly, if your accident occurred on private land, such as a car park, then your claim for injuries would be brought against the owner of that land,” she added.

How to file a pothole injury claim

To file a pothole injury claim it is important that you obtain the following:

  1. Photographs of where the accident happened and the pothole, using a ruler to demonstrate the depth and width of the pothole;
  2. Photographs of your injuries and any damage caused to your property;
  3. Details of any witnesses and/or any other person injured;
  4. Any CCTV footage, this could be in the form of doorbell footage;
  5. If you are a driver or cyclist, details of the damage caused either using a repair estimate or invoice.

When out cycling potholes are a real risk and have been blamed for numerous serious injuries to riders, in a case a Lancashire coroner ruled that damage to a road had contributed to the death of a keen cyclist.

Is there a time limit for making a pothole injury claim?

Any claim for injuries and losses caused by a pothole must usually be made within three years of the accident occurring and it is advisable to pursue a claim as soon as possible as it is important that evidence is gathered quickly.

Your claim following this type of accident may include, not only an injury claim, but also a claim for out-of-pocket expenses such as:

  • Damage to property;
  • Loss of earnings;
  • Medical expenses, such as prescription charges;
  • The provision of care and assistance by family members or friends;
  • Travelling expenses;
  • Parking charges.

“This list is not exhaustive, and it is always best to seek advice on whether you can include a claim for an expense incurred,” advised Lisa.

How can we help?

If you have been injured or in an accident as a result of a dangerous pothole, contact our personal injury specialists on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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