Last updated:
20 June 2017

Highway claims for injury or damage to property

Details for making claims for personal injury or damage to property or vehicles from potholes, drains and paving stones.

1 Responsibility for highway maintenance

Roads and pavements cannot remain in perfect condition at all times. Although we have a duty to take reasonable steps to maintain the highway network within West Sussex, and do this by regularly inspecting our roads and pavements on a planned basis, accidents still occur.

Busy main roads are inspected more frequently than minor country roads. Any defects noted on inspection may be treated as an urgent repair or work could be included within longer term planned maintenance.

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 means inspections and repairs being carried out as planned.

2 Before making a claim

Before proceeding with a claim against the County Council please consider the following points:

  • Making a claim can be a lengthy process and may not result in a pay-out.
  • Any compensation is paid from public money so we will always fully investigate any claims.
  • The decision on liability will be based on the facts of each case, and the law.
  • The legal defence available, as outlined on the previous page, means that most claims are unsuccessful.

3 Making a claim for vehicle or property damage

If you decide to make a claim relating to damage to a vehicle or property, use the form below. Make sure that you report the defect in the road so we can repair it.

To support your claim you must include the following information:

  • 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
  • detail of the damage caused, and an independent estimate for repair (unless repair was required immediately, such as a damaged windscreen)
  • copy of vehicle ownership (V5)
  • copy of current MOT and insurance certificate.

We cannot return any documents, so only send copies.

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 following information:

  • 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.

5 Where to send your claim form

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

 

6 How we process your claim

We aim to acknowledge receipt of your claim within 4 weeks. 

We will then investigate and aim to either accept or reject your claim within 8 weeks from the date of acknowledgement.

If the incident has occurred as a result of works carried out on the pavement or road by a utility company or contractor then your claim may be against them, not us. 

During the investigation we are unable to send progress updates, so please be patient.

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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.