Highways insurance claims
We are responsible for over 1450 miles of roads and 1250 miles of pavements. Personal injury or damage to property caused by faults are always regrettable and we work to minimise the likelihood as far as possible.
As the Highway Authority, we are required by law to maintain the roads and pavements to a standard appropriate to the traffic volumes and use. Unfortunately this may not always meet the high levels some may expect. If you feel that you can prove we have failed in our duty, and you have suffered a personal injury or damage to your property as a result of this failure, you can make a claim for compensation.
Section 41 of the Highways Act imposes upon ourselves the duty to maintain roads and pavements. To ensure that this duty is met we regularly inspects all roads and pavements.
The frequency of inspections varies, depending on the type and use of each road and pavement. We employ a team of trained staff whose job it is to drive and walk the roads and pavements, checking and recording any issues considered to be dangerous.
When an issue is identified at an inspection, or otherwise reported, the appropriate action will be taken. However the law does not demand that roads and pavements are always in a perfect state.
Trunk roads and motorways are the responsibility of Highways England who may be contacted via email or post to make a claim.
Phone: 0300 123 5000
The law and you
Before deciding to claim, please carefully consider the following:
In law, for a claim against us to succeed, it is necessary for a claimant to prove that:
- the road or pavement in question has not been maintained appropriately and was therefore dangerous
- it was the direct cause of the accident
We need to demonstrate that we took all reasonable steps to ensure the road or pavement was safe. In practice, this means that the inspections and repairs we carry out form the basis of our defence against claims.
What do I need?
If you decide to claim you may wish to seek independent legal representation. In every case you will need to provide full details of the following:
- description of how the incident happened, including weather conditions
- exact location of where it happened
- photographs or a sketch of the location
- time and date
- direction of travel, by foot or vehicle
- detail of damage or injury suffered
- details of why you believe that we are responsible for the incident.
For vehicle damage claims, you may be asked to provide two independent estimates for repair, unless the repair was required straight away such as a broken windscreen.
For vehicle claims you may also need to provide:
- proof of vehicle ownership
- current MOT and Insurance Certificates
- date of the last service
- any other relevant details
For personal injury claims, you will need to supply your National Insurance number (if appropriate), date of birth and income details, if your claim involves loss of income.
How do I make a claim?
If you are a solicitor acting on behalf of a claimant, we advise that you use the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal.
If you are making a claim on behalf of yourself or someone else you need to use our claim form.
You will need the following before you can submit your claim:
- incident date and locations details
- Police incident number (if reported)
- witness name and contact details (if appropriate)
- details of resulting medical appointment attended (if appropriate)
- supporting documentation, such as invoices, estimates, photographs
Make a claim
Alternatively you contact us by email or post to make a claim:
Post: Highways Claims Team, Highways Office, Guilden Sutton Lane, Guilden Sutton, Chester, CH3 7EX
What happens after I have made a claim?
When we receive the information required, we will:
- forward your claim details to our independent claim handlers who will acknowledge your claim within 21 days and
- forward our inspection and maintenance records to our independent claim handler
Our claim handlers will carry out thorough enquiries into the incident, using information supplied by you and ourselves, for example, the circumstances surrounding the incident and the inspection and maintenance records. The claim handler will decide whether we are liable and will contact you with their decision and the reasons for it.
We are committed to preventing and detecting any fraudulent practices. Any information you provide may be used to assist in this process and may also be shared, subject to the Data Protection Act 1998, with other organisations for the same purposes.
If the incident has occurred as a result of works carried out by a Utility Company or Contractor, then your claim may be against them and not the Council.