Hit a Pothole? Who Pays For The Damage To Your Car?
If you drive in and around Castle Douglas 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 vehicles OK but if damage has been caused you may be entitled to ask the council (or Highways Commission) to pay for this.
There is nothing worse than driving over a pothole. It’s like you can feel the damage it’s doing to your car. Unfortunately, there are many vehicles that are damaged every year having driven over a pothole; when it is in the middle of the road, it’s difficult to avoid.
Going over a pothole may leave you with a big repair bill to pay. But why should you foot the bill for something that isn’t your fault? Well, the answer is you may not have to.
So, let’s take a look at how to make a claim for 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.
Start with the Evidence
While it can all happen so fast, it’s important to gather evidence from the incident with the pothole. The best thing you can do is take a lot of photographs from the street where the pothole is located, as well as of the pothole itself. It’s good to get angles to show how big and deep it may be. In addition, be sure to take photographs of any damage that has been done to your vehicle. This is going to allow the relevant authority to see what has happened and put the pieces together.
Take some notes of what happened during the incident as it’s easy to forget all the details. Remember to include details such as the street name and how far along the pothole is so that it can be easily located. If you can log GPS coordinates then that’d be great.
Go to Your Local Garage
Now it’s time to get your car fixed. Before the relevant authority is going to process a compensation claim, they will need to know the repair costs of your vehicle. At Bryan Swales Auto Repairs we’ll carry out a vehicle health check and see what the repairs are going to be. Just make sure that you keep any paperwork, receipts and bills you receive, as you will need this as evidence to send to the relevant authority with your claim.
Submit Your Compensation Claim
After all of your evidence is ready, you’ll need to collate it and send it to the relevant authority. You will find their contact details on their website so that you can send your compensation claim. Of course, you need to make sure you send it to the right authority. Generally speaking, normal roads and streets around towns and cities will be managed by the local council.
If the road is a motorway, this is going to be dealt with by national organisations. This includes Transport Scotland for places around Scotland and if the pothole is in England, you should contact Highways England. For roads in Wales, you should visit the website for Traffic Wales and Northern Ireland will be the Department for Infrastructure. Make sure you tell them exactly what has happened and what you want to gain from correspondence.
Wait and See What the Authority Says
It may take a while for you to receive an answer. If things are dealt with quickly, you may only have to wait a few weeks. But if there is a waiting list then you will have to be patient. This may involve waiting for several months.
It’s important to remember that it’s possible for the relevant authority to reject your compensation claim. This does happen if they feel like the pothole didn’t cause the damage or that there weren’t aware the pothole existed. This means that you will have to be prepared for the answer to be no to your compensation claim.
Take Your Claim Higher
Your compensation claim doesn’t have to be over if the relevant authority rejects your case. It’s possible to take your claim higher and proceed to the small claims court. This will involve someone listening to all of the evidence and deciding whether compensation should be granted. It’s important to bear in mind that there are legal fees to pay for this route. This may be a waste of money if you lose your case, so weigh up your options carefully before rushing into anything.
At Bryan Swales Auto Repairs, 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.