Potholes are the bane for all drivers. You hit them and hear clunks and crunches as the car breaks beneath you. They are everywhere, some small and shallow with the opposite being large, deep and causing the most damage.
Pothole damage can range from damaged tyres to full mechanical breaks with the repair costs becoming more and more expensive. Potholes aren’t always avoidable and hitting one is not your fault. It is the responsibility of the local council to fill those holes in to avoid you having accidents and damaging your car. This means you could have a case for making a claim for pothole damage to cover the cost of your repairs and more.
If you hit a pothole…
There are those days where you are driving along without a care in the world. You’re enjoying the drive when you hit a pothole. It sends an awful vibration through the whole car, that both makes you feel both guilty and shaken. If that vibration is followed by a loud bang or clunk, pull over in a safe place immediately.
First, if you hit a pothole, what can I do?
When safe to do so, get out of your car and check for damage to the tyres, on the chassis and for any debris. The tyres and wheels are the best places to start as they are the most obvious indicator that the pothole has caused serious damage. Not all the damage will be obvious to see but will be able to touch. The steering wheel might not centre properly or the car is continually pulling to one side. If there is serious damage you will feel it, even if you don’t see it.
Take notes and pictures
Your memory can be a fickle thing, so make sure you return to the scene. Following that, take notes and sketches. If safe, take photos of the pothole and your car, particularly any visible damage.
When taking the photos of the pothole, you need to give an idea of the scale of the pothole. You can do this by including another item in the image for comparative measurement. Most people use a trailer or a bottle for scale.
In your notes, make sure you have written down the exact position of the offending pothole, including the road name, town and where on the road the pothole is positioned.
Report the pothole
First priority after this event is to report the pothole. You should do this regardless of your intentions to claim or not. You must report it to your local county, city or borough council. They should arrange repairs to prevent similar accidents.
Get your car repaired
When it comes to getting your car repaired, make sure you get a collection of quotes. This allows you to prove that you tried to get the cheapest possible price for your repairs.
Once you have repaired your car, keep all the quotes, receipts and invoices and make copies of supporting your claim.
Make your claim
To make a claim, write to the council responsible for the road with all the details involving the pothole. This includes all the quotes, invoices and receipts you got for repairs with all the notes and photos you took at the scene.
Councils and highway authorities have a statutory defence. They cannot be held responsible for potholes they were unaware of - If the pothole has not been reported to them or it wasn’t picked up during their regular checks. However, if they did know about it and hadn’t had it repaired, you could have a claim.
Car too damaged for repair
If you have hit a pothole and it is game over for your car, but have been successful in your claim, you can look for a new car. Hippo Leasing offers a great selection of cars for you to choose from that are affordable and hassle-free. If you find a car you like, enquire with us and our dedicated team will find the best car lease deal for you.