West Sussex pothole compensation claims among highest in the UK - more than 1,400 last year

West Sussex County Council received more than 1,400 compensation claims relating to potholes in 2018-2019.

Statistics obtained by leasing company leasecar.uk showed 1,416 claims were made in the county after motorists fell victim to our damaged roads.

The figure is the eighth highest in the UK, although the county does not feature in the top ten for total amount of compensation paid out, suggesting the claims were numerous but not necessarily successful.

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A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We take the maintenance and repair of roads very seriously and have a duty to take reasonable steps to maintain our highway network. We inspect our roads and pavements on a programmed basis in line with national guidance and carry out repairs according to a published set of criteria. We consider all compensation claims on their own merits to ensure they are dealt with fairly. The decision on liability is based on the facts of each case, and the law.

Stock image of pot hole, Poulters Lane, Worthing

“We also inform all claimants that Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 allows us a defence if we can show reasonable steps were taken to maintain the highway. What this report does not state is how many claims were repudiated and hence how much public money was saved.”

Last week this paper relaunched its Pothole Watch campaign to raise awareness of the issue which has left our roads covered in craters.

These latest figures show the residents of West Sussex agree and are not afraid to demand financial recompense for physical injuries or damage to their vehicles.

The county council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, Roger Elkins, said combating potholes was a multi-faceted endeavour.

“We take the pothole issue very seriously – we know they are the bane of road users’ lives and our highways teams, and our contractor, work hard prioritising and repairing them,” he said.

“However, to focus on potholes alone is deceptive: we take a holistic approach to maintaining our road network, and carefully plan making the most of finite budgets with our resurfacing programme.”

According to the council, its pothole prevention strategy is a three-pronged approach.

This includes resurfacing large or entire sections of roads where the surface is completely replaced; ‘micro-surfacing’ with a layer of asphalt emulsion blended with finely crushed stone to seal the surface and the use of a bitumen surface dressing into which stone chippings are rolled.