Potholes: ‘It’s worth persevering with compensation claim’

Martin Lewis from MoneySavingExpert.com
Martin Lewis from MoneySavingExpert.com

A leading consumer website has said it is surprised that nobody in Bridlington has been able to claim back money for damage to their cars caused by potholes in the past five years.

The Free Press revealed this week that every compensation claim made to East Riding of Yorkshire Council since 2012, relating to potholes in the YO15 and YO16 postcodes, had failed.

Damage from potholes can run into hundreds of pounds.

Damage from potholes can run into hundreds of pounds.

The team at MoneySavingExpert.com, whose founder Martin Lewis regularly appears on TV and radio to offer financial advice, say residents should not be put off from trying to get money back.

Its news and features editor Steve Nowottny said: “It’s surprising to hear the council hasn’t paid out a penny in pothole compensation over the past five years. Of course, it’s possible that’s because the roads have been kept in perfect condition and no cars or bikes have been damaged by a preventable pothole - but it could also be because pothole damage is notoriously difficult to claim for, even where a local authority is at fault.

“The law is simple - whoever controls the road has a legal duty to maintain it to a fit standard.

“If they don’t and your car’s damaged, they should pay for repairs.”

Mechanics in Bridlington said many of their customers had not bothered putting a claim in for damage to their tyres, wheel rims or suspension, because the success rate was so low.

But Mr Nowottny insisted: “Submitting a claim can be a slog - you’ll need to gather evidence, prove it was the pothole which was responsible and in some cases show that the authority was to blame for not maintaining the road too.

“Yet it’s worth persevering - drivers can claim hundreds of pounds back, and have the satisfaction of knowing they’ve put pressure on councils to keep roads in good nick too.”

The council said residents can report problem potholes on its website, but claims were assessed on an individual basis and motorists need to prove that the council is in breach of its statutory duty to maintain the highway.”