Potholes can be a common sight on the roads and are sometimes difficult to avoid, as there can also be dangers of attempting to. On other occasions a driver, cyclist or pedestrian will not have even seen the pothole, perhaps they came upon it suddenly or it was disguised by a puddle. This is when serious accidents and injuries can happen and, even if they are minor, you could be entitled to compensation.
Whether a hole in the road has led to damage to your vehicle or property, or resulted in personal injury through driving, cycling or from a trip when walking, you can make a claim for the set-backs you’ve suffered and any hardships an accident could create.
Who is responsible for the condition of roads and streets?
In Northern Ireland it is the Department for Infrastructure’s job to maintain the quality and safety of motorways, roads and street surfaces. The NI government website offers ways to file the claim directly, after which the DFI will assess the case and decide whether or not you are due compensation and if so to what extent.
Of course you can always seek legal assistance with a claim through a firm like Harry McPartland and Sons Solicitors, with over 65 years’ experience to help make your case as strong as possible and have it resolved promptly and professionally.
If there has been an incident involving a pothole and you intend to file a claim you should act quickly, as you don’t have forever to pursue for damages, and the faster your claim is made the sooner you may have your full compensation.
You will also be expected to report the pothole to local authorities and doing this generally helps speed up its repair so that there is less chance of others falling victim to it after you.
What defines a pothole?
One of the issues which determines how far a claim can even go in the first place is whether or not the indentation on the road is sufficient enough to be deemed a pothole in the eyes of the local authority.
In most areas the minimum depth the hole needs to be before it becomes a “pothole” is 5/8ths of an inch. Holes that do not meet this measurement are categorized as carriage defects and could cause a claim to be rejected. It’s vital to your case that the hole is measured and proof of its size is provided.
What evidence and details do I need?
The more information that can accompany your claim the stronger it will be. The hole itself should be measured and photographed if possible. Provided it is safe, a recognisable object can be placed in the photo for a reference of scale and reinforcement of your measurements. Ensure that the photo has a date and is clear, in that it has adequate natural light, is taken at close range and then further away to give context, and that the camera is in proper focus. Any modern smartphone or mobile device is capable of capturing a strong enough photo.
Please note that it is illegal to try and revisit the location of a motorway pothole for these purposes.
You need to have a description of the incident, date and time, the exact location, and anything to indicate the exact extent of damages be it quotes for vehicle repair and any accompanying photos, or medical documents if you are claiming for personal injury.
Keep hold of any property or parts that received damage as these could be inspected. If there were any witnesses to the incident it may benefit to include their details as well.
Where do I start with making my claim?
Get in touch with Harry McPartland and Sons Solicitors, legal experts in Lisburn and Lurgan, and arrange for your free first consultation. We will discuss your case confidentially and provide the advice and any other support you need to proceed with the best chances of receiving 100% of your compensation.
Call our Lurgan office on 028 3832 2452, or 028 9267 0325 for Lisburn. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.