Councils Could Face Huge Compensation Bills Over Potholes

In this day and age we would expect our UK roads to be robust and able to withstand the frequent wet weather conditions, right? Wrong. Just after midday on Friday 14th August 2015 a part of the Mancunian Way in Manchester collapsed and an unusually enormous hole was created, now dubbed ‘the Manchester sinkhole’. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

Mancunian sinkhole

So what caused the hole which has very quickly become Manchester’s latest tourist attraction? Experts believe the hole, which currently measures 40ft deep and 15ft wide, may have appeared as a result of the soft material under the road, known as sediment, being weakened by the recent heavy rainfall. It is understood two weeks’ worth of torrential rain fell in about 6 hours on the Friday the hole appeared.

Given the fact that Manchester is renowned for its frequent rainy days, the hole has come as an unexpected surprise, especially to those whose daily commute involves using the Mancunian Way. It is said many weeks may pass by before the road is completely opened up again to traffic and experts will be using that time to understand exactly why it happened and to make sure it never occurs again.

Let’s hope that the experts are able to identify the problem on this occasion, as this is not the first time Manchester has experienced a ‘sinkhole’. In April 2009, a gaping hole developed on Barlow Moor Road in Didsbury, Manchester when a pipe leading to the city’s network of Victorian sewers collapsed. Again, fortunately, nobody was injured.

If you have suffered injury because of bad road conditions, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation against the local council who is responsible for maintaining the road. If your accident occurred on private land (eg a supermarket car park) you can make a claim against the owner of the land who is responsible for its maintenance.

As well as physical injuries, you can claim for loss of earnings and damage to your vehicle, if you were in a vehicle at the time. In these types of personal injury claims, the more supportive evidence the Claimant has, the better the prospects of success. Therefore photographic evidence of the road at the time, and details of any witnesses will strengthen a Claimant’s case.

Your county needs you! If you do happen to spot what we refer to as a ‘defect’, i.e. a pothole in the road or uneven paving, please notify the local council in that area or the owner of the land. As road tax and council tax payers, we have a moral duty to ensure that our money is being spent on keeping our roads safe and so, it is also our moral duty to report to councils when we first spot a defect to make sure it is rectified in a timely fashion and to avoid others suffering injury.

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure (and compensation)”. However, Hilary Meredith Solicitors are here are to seek compensation when prevention has not taken place.