Highway claims for injury or damage to property

Claiming for personal injury or damage to property or vehicles.

1 Overview

We have a statutory duty under the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the West Sussex highways, ensuring they are safe and can be used without obstruction.

We regularly inspect the county's roads to identify potholes and other problems. The frequency of the inspections depends on the type of road. Busier routes, such as ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads, are inspected monthly, whereas quieter routes are inspected less often.

If you are considering making a claim for a highways-related incident, be aware that Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 allows us a defence if we can show that reasonable steps were taken to maintain the highway. This includes inspections and repairs being carried out as planned.

2 Before making a claim

Making a claim against West Sussex County Council can be a lengthy and time consuming process. We recommend you only proceed with a claim if you consider you have the necessary grounds and documentation to be successful.

You should ensure that you are able to provide the following, if applicable:

  • the exact location of the incident with reference to an adjacent building or landmark
  • a full description of the incident - time, date and weather conditions
  • detail of the damage caused
  • an independent estimate for repair (unless repair was required immediately, such as a damaged tyre or windscreen, in which case provide a copy of the repair bill by uploading it when prompted on the form)
  • a copy of vehicle ownership (V5)
  • a copy of a current MOT 
  • a copy of a valid insurance certificate.

3 Making a claim for damage

To have sufficient grounds for a damage claim you should be able to answer 'Yes' to all of the following questions:

1. Are you able to provide valid documentation for any vehicle involved?

A claim can only be made when vehicle documentation is current, valid and you are able to provide it as part of your claim. This includes proof of ownership, insurance and MOT. 

If not, we will be unable to process your claim.

2. Can it be proven that West Sussex County Council did not take reasonable steps to prevent the incident?

Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 allows us a defence if we can show that we took reasonable steps to maintain the highway. If we can show that we carried out planned inspections and repairs, we will generally have a complete defence to the claim.

If not, your claim will not be successful.

3. Have you reported the defect related to the claim?

It is important that we repair the defect as soon as possible. You must therefore report the defect (if it has not already been reported) before making your claim. We will ask you for evidence of this as part of any claim.

If not, we will be unable to process your claim.

4. Can it be proved that the damage was caused by the road defect and not by other contributory factors?

If there are other possible causes, such as speed and driving conditions (including light levels and the weather) a claim may not be proved.

If not, your claim is unlikely to be successful.

If you have answered 'Yes' to all four questions you may continue and submit your claim.

Please note that you will be required to create an account before completing the application. Before you begin please make sure you have all the necessary information as it is not possible at this time to save and return to the form.

Submit a claim for damage (external link)

The quickest and easiest way to complete your claim is online. If you are unable to complete an online form for any reason, please contact our Highways Customer Service team.

4 Making a claim for personal injury

Claiming using independent legal advice

If you decide to make a claim for personal injury, you can seek independent legal advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor. They will guide you through the process of submitting a claim through the Ministry of Justice's Claims Portal.

Full details of the claims procedure are on the Ministry of Justice website. 

Claiming without using independent legal advice

If you decide to submit a claim yourself you will need to complete the following documents:

To support your claim you must include:

  • the exact location of the incident with reference to an adjacent building or landmark
  • a sketch or map of the incident location showing the direction of travel
  • a full description of the incident - time, date and weather conditions
  • details of the injury you sustained
  • your National Insurance number
  • your date of birth
  • details of any medical attention you received in relation to your claim
  • details of your earnings if your claim involves loss of earnings.

We cannot return any documents, so only send copies.

Where to send your claim

You can either scan your claim form and supporting documents and email them to us, or send them by post.

 

Last updated:
25 October 2019
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