Authorities have paid £13million in pothole compensation bills over the past four years Bedford News

Councils and road authorities across Britain have paid nearly £13million in compensation over the past four years to drivers whose vehicles have been damaged by poor road surfaces.

Motorists received an average of £347 each for repairs to their vehicles after being damaged by potholes and other damaged road surfaces.

According to information released under a freedom of information request, motorists submitted more than 145,000 compensation claims between January 2018 and October 2021, with authorities paying in 37,366 cases, or 25.7 % of all requests.

In total, the 344 authorities who responded to the What Car? The FOI claim said they paid £12,991,216.81 in compensation for damage to components such as wheels, tires and suspension.

Highways England was found to have paid the most. The authority which oversees 4,300 miles of motorways, dual carriageways and trunk roads has paid a total of £865,254.75 in compensation to 2,707 drivers, or 56% of those who lodged a claim.

Behind this, Lincolnshire Council donated £764,588. It has received more complaints than any other authority, with 8,810 drivers filing damage claims. Of these, 4,313 (49%) were successful.

Drivers who complained to Wiltshire Council were the most likely to succeed, with the authority paying in 86.6% of cases and reimbursing drivers up to £302,911 between 2018 and 2021.

By contrast, Rotherham Borough Council paid in just 9.3% of cases, compensating just 75 drivers over the same period, but paid far larger sums, with a total bill of £350,500.

Insurer Admiral also reported a sharp rise in the number of drivers claiming damage caused by poor road surfaces, with 39% more claims in 2021 than in 2016.

The research comes after the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s Alarm report warned that councils in England and Wales were facing a nine-year backlog of road repairs that would cost £12billion to repair.

Which car? editor Steve Huntingford said: ‘The poor condition of UK roads is nothing new, but recently it has been further highlighted by everything from reports of celebrities filling in potholes on local roads to the latest alarm report highlighting the considerable costs and resources required to bring our network up to standard.

“Our investigation showed the huge number of claims that motorists have submitted across the country for damage caused by poor road conditions and the significant expense that local authorities have to bear to compensate motorists. This adds to the expenses intended for road maintenance and repair.

Which car? Also found that although two-thirds of drivers were absent they could only attempt to claim compensation as 10% had already done so.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-13 07:43:13

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