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Potholes, the injuries they cause and claiming compensation

Potholes are an issue we have discussed in the past and they are certainly something Hugh Potter is well aware of after breaking his collarbone when his bicycle crashed due to the damaged road.

We read today how a pensioner sadly died after falling from his bike on a road 'notorious' for potholes. The skull fractures he suffered resulted in a severe brain injury. Many residents in the area are now concerned over the state of their roads.

But what happens when someone injures themselves; whether as a pedestrian, runner or cyclist? Who do you make a complaint to and can you claim compensation?

One Friday afternoon, a member of the public called Barnsley Council to report they had noticed a deep pothole on a 'local access road' which was logged and forwarded on to the highway inspectors.

However, the complaint was stored on the system over the weekend and so nothing was done to fix the pothole that day or the next which would usually be the case on any other weekday.

On the Saturday evening, another local resident was out jogging when he stepped on the pothole, causing him to lose his balance and he fell. He suffered an injury to his ankle on which he couldn't bear weight for 10 days.

By Monday morning, the highway inspector noticed the complaint made on the Friday and the pothole was repaired the following day.

However, when the injured man claimed negligence, the council denied liability and so he issued proceedings.

This story highlights the need for highway inspectors and the council to have systems in place for responding to reported potholes, especially for hazardous defects such as this.

Having limited resources, as shown in the above example, is no defence when considering a compensation claim.

Hugh Potter, partner and personal injury solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

I have my own claim ongoing against Macclesfield for its failure to repair dangerous pot holes promptly so I have a vested interest but the roads are in a poor state, particularly those given low priority (often quieter routes favoured by cyclists).

Last year, we reported how the government confirmed an investment of £50 million to repair hundreds of thousands of potholes on the UK's roads.

Read a blog on the dangers of potholes for cyclists from Jeremy Smith, personal injury solicitor, about a cyclist who won a claim against the council after he crashed due to a pothole.

Also, why not take a look at our sister website, Bicycle Assist, for easy, practical support for cyclists living in and around Greater Manchester.

We provide legal advice for cyclists as we're passionate about cycling and believe that cyclists should have as much support as other road users, particularly following an accident.

Bicycle Assist is a source of information any keen cyclist should consider as we cover everything you need to know about what to do before and after an accident.

Hugh Potter is a personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about the issues raised in this article and wish to speak with Hugh or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.