Road Surface Accidents

Road surfaces are getting worse as road maintenance budgets get squeezed and narrow tyres mean that what feels like a small jolt in a car, can feel like a tank ditch on bike.

Potholes, often unseen in the wet, can result in damaged bikes, a broken collar bone or worse.

At Cycling Lawyer, we work with road engineering experts and leading barristers to prove your case and get you the damages you deserve. 

Can I claim for an accident caused by a dodgy road surface?

You can claim for an accident caused by a defect in the road surface, though the counsel have quite a bit of wiggle room, so it will all come down to the type of road and how bad the defect was.

How deep does a pothole need to be to claim?

The test is whether “The highway was in such a condition that it was dangerous, in the sense that danger may reasonably have been anticipated from its continued use by the public”

There isn’t a definitive depth as to when this test is met, but the suggested intervention depth for a pothole on a busy road is 40mm, though on more minor roads, it could be deeper. 

Is the counsel liable for all pothole accidents?

No, the local authority has a full defence if they can show that they had a reasonable system of inspection in place to give them a reasonable chance to identify and repair any defect.

To complicate this, due to the financial difficulty of local councils, the guidance has recently been updated to a risk-based system of inspection, which blurs this line even further.

Does the type of road matter?

Yes, greatly.  On minor roads “acceptable” potholes can be significantly deeper than on a busy roundabout, and while a daily system of inspection may be “adequate” on a motorway, it could be monthly or even less frequent on a minor road.

What can I do to give myself the best chance of winning my claim?

Get pictures of the pothole, and try to get something else in the shot that gives some perspective. Anything with standard sizing will do like a coin, or a credit card.

What if my accident was caused by something on the road?

The local authority is responsible for keeping the road clear of debris and other obstacles, but with the same potential defence as with potholes. If it’s something which wouldn’t naturally be on the road then you may have a claim against the person who caused it to be there.

Do I need to know where it’s from?

No, though who you claim against will be different. If there is an emanation from a particular property then the owner will be responsible. 

If there’s no way to know who caused the hazard then you may have a claim against the Motor Insurers’ Bureaux though you will need to show that the debris on the road is likely to have been deposited by another road user.  Common accident causes here are thick mud on a country lane, or diesel/oil leaks on the road.

How do I claim?

These are technical claims but we’re here to help. Call Cycling Lawyer on 01446 794199 and well get started.