Taken out by a pothole
I came off when my front wheel hit a pothole and had a broken wrist and a badly fractured shoulder. I complained to the council but they denied responsibility. I believe the pothole was an obvious danger. What do I need to do to get some compensation for my injuries, kit and bike damage?
Andrew Matthews, by e-mail
The Council has a duty under s.41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain roads at the public expense and to take reasonable steps to ensure that road users have safe passage along those roads.
The Council will have a statutory defence to your claim under s.58 of the Highways Act 1980 if they can establish that they have taken such care as was, in all the circumstances, required to ensure that the part of the highway involved was not dangerous for traffic. In practical terms, this relates to:
(a) whether the Council has a reasonable method of inspecting roads and dealing with issues, and
(b) whether or not they followed that method in your case.
You would need to establish either that the council’s method of inspecting and maintaining roads was not reasonable; or that if their method of inspecting and maintaining roads was reasonable, that they did not follow their own policy.
In order to establish either of these you may need to obtain expert evidence from a Civil Engineer. You should instruct a solicitor to investigate this claim for you.