01482 778 463

We're here to help 01482 778 463

CLAIM ONLINE
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Poorly maintained roads. What are the chances of a successful claim?

Poorly maintained roads. What are the chances of a successful claim?

Pothole


The poor condition of local roads and the increase in the number of potholes have seen major coverage over recent months with Local authorities warning that 2017 could represent a critical year for potholes with analysis estimating that the repair bill could reach £14 billion within two years.

The Local Government Association (LGA), representing 370 councils in England and Wales has reported steadily growing repair figures and believes that the country faces a “roads crisis”. Recent statistics from the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) state that the total has risen from £9.8 billion in 2012 to £11.8bn last year in 2016, projected to rise to £14bn by 2019. The study also found that almost a fifth of roads were in “poor” condition.

So where do you stand if you have an accident as a result of a poorly maintained road? Is the fact that the Local Government has been subject to reduced funding a defence?

A few years ago, the Court of Appeal issued a key ruling on highway inspections and the budgetary pressures councils are under which is still relevant today.  In the case of Wilkinson v City of York it was ruled that if inspection of a highway was inadequate due to budget issues, then the highway authority had not taken the care required to ensure that it was not dangerous.

The facts of the case

The claimant fell from her motorcycle in May 2006 when the front wheel hit a pothole in the road. She brought a damages claim. The claim centred on the council’s statutory defence under section 58 of the Highways Act 1980.

The council argues that the prescribed frequency of inspection under the council’s code was annual. The council inspected the road approximately ten months prior to the accident and no defect was recorded. The claimant’s case was that the frequency of inspection was inadequate because the national code of practice suggested the road was of a type that ought to have been inspected every three months. The council’s case was that the reduced number of inspections from the national code was a matter of limited manpower and financial resources and was not based on any risk assessment as the national code suggested it ought to be.

Following subsequent appeals and further hearings the claimant’s case was upheld.

At the Court of Appeal, it accepted that the national code was not a document that carried the force of law. However, on the evidence given at trial (which suggested reasonably heavy pedestrian traffic) it was open to the District Judge to conclude than an annual system of inspection was inadequate. Financial considerations were not a factor when looking at whether the council had done what “was reasonably required”.

The intended purpose of Section 58 was to afford a defence to a claim for damages brought against a highway authority if it was able to demonstrate that it had done all that was reasonably necessary to make the road safe for users, not a licence to decide that it was preferable to allocate its resources in other directions because other needs were more pressing.
It goes without saying that as a general rule a highway will be maintained in a better condition the more frequently it is inspected.

 

Highway authorities should ensure that their inspection frequencies are set following a cogent process of risk assessment based on locality, traffic levels and footfall and other relevant factors such that any deviation from the national code of guidance is readily explicable and that blaming budget restraints will not alleviate councils of their overall legal responsibilities.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

*Required

The Author

author image

Tony Carter

Incident and Advice Investigation Specialist

ac@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request a callback from a solicitor

 I am an existing client.









What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Ihad the need to use a solicitor i had …

"Ihad the need to use a solicitor i had never heard of HUDGELL SOLICITORS at… "

Tina Dridge

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I am satisfied,profesional service ,I …

"I am satisfied,profesional service ,I recommend to everyone."

Miss Stanislawa Szczubelek

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very good polite and fast service

"Very good polite and fast service"

Lesley Hubbard

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell's did a good job

"Nasreen did a good job and Hudgell's were great throughout"

AJV2017

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful and done everything they …

"Very helpful and done everything they can to help me win my claim"

Mr Jack Benjamin Chapman

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent! Number 1 law firm 👍🏻👍🏻

"Excellent and honest from start to finish. Always returned my call and put me first.… "

Mr Gav Walker

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great help with an extra bit of nagging …

"Great help with an extra bit of nagging from myself! They got the best for… "

Miss Chloe Knapton

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hiya you work real good for me I'm …

"Hiya you work real good for me I'm happy for you do for me and… "

Ms Anne Ollier

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent service

"Excellent service. I have been kept informed every step of the way. When I have… "

maggie ackroyd

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent service

"Excellent service, the Solicitor kept me informed on all progress with regular phone calls and… "

Miss Rebecca Shaw

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Would 100% recommend and use again

"Whilst having to deal with a difficult company who was denying I ever worked for… "

Danny Morfitt

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Fantastic service from beginning to …

"Fantastic service from beginning to end. Cant really say much more than that."

Craig

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

My case

"I have always found your service very good,always up to date with what was going… "

Miss Julie johnson

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great service

"Great service, friendly and hard working staff"

Mr Mohamed Jaouadi

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent customer care

"Once my claim was accepted I was kept informed throughout the negotiating process very professional… "

Mr Terence John Casey

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent Company

"Fast, friendly and honest service. Could not be happier with how my claim was handled… "

Miss Stacie King

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very prompt along every step of the way

"Very prompt along every step of the way"

Miss Rachel Victoria Joseph

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent service

"Excellent service. Regular updates on my case and felt they had my best interests in… "

Mr Paul Hewson

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell's have been very sensitive and …

"Hudgell's have been very sensitive and thorough with their support of me in my case.… "

Mrs Lisa Russell

Rated 9.2 out of 10 based on 297 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

© 2017 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90