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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Compensation for pothole damage

Coventry City Council has faces having to pay £2,000 to a driver who claimed for damage to the wheels of his Mercedes car caused by potholes that developed in the winter of 2010. The Daily Telegraph reported the case in Coventry County Court - the council denied liability, but the judge had no doubt that its failure to keep the carriageway in good repair had caused the damage. I imagine there could be a problem with this case opening up the floodgates, and perhaps the council will be inclined to appeal: there are some complicated policy considerations involved, to put it mildly.

This comes not long after Thomas v Warwickshire County Council (2011) EWHC 772 (QB) - and not far away, either - in which the High Court extended the duty of the highway authority to maintain the road0. A lump of concrete which had dried to the surface was part of the fabric of the highway, not just a contaminant, and therefore it fell within the authority's duty to maintain the fabric under section 41 of the Highways Act 1980. The case is reported by Lawdit Solicitors here.

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