Recent articles in The Times (“New pothole policy is deathtrap for cyclists’” and “Pothole Loopholes”) highlight the dangers and risks faced by cyclists from potholes and road defects present to cyclists every day.
Solicitor - Health & Injury
A cyclist who hits a pothole or swerves to avoid one could fall and collide with another road user such as a car or worse. The consequences of such an accident could be serious injury or even fatal.
Who is to Blame?
Should such an accident occur, a personal injury or fatal accident claim can be commenced against the Highway Authority responsible for the maintenance of the highway. For the claim to be successful it has to be established that:
- the highway authority did not maintain the highway as required by section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, and
- the accident was caused by a failure to maintain that highway. A highway is not maintained if it was in a condition that exposed danger to those using the highway in an ordinary way.
However, even if the above conditions can be established, section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides a defence to any claim made under section 41.
To raise this defence the authority has to show that it had taken such care in all the circumstances as was reasonably required to secure the relevant part of the highway in a way so that it was not dangerous for traffic.
Evidence is Vital
In view of the requirements of the Highways Act, such claims are not straightforward. Evidence is all important, and if you are involved in such an accident, the first thing to do is to obtain good quality photographs and, if possible, a video of the road and potholes where the accident occurred. Try to obtain these from the direction of travel of the cyclist and at the same time of day that the accident occurred. The photographs and video should include measurements of the potholes.
We Can Help
Obtaining evidence is a key part of the work we do at MW Solicitors. When investigating and acting in these types of cases we will make immediate site visits, cycling the road if appropriate. We will obtain evidence from the police and ambulance services and interview police officers and paramedics, if required. We will also investigate any CCTV footage of the locality and we will investigate the history of accidents of the road. We can also engage cycling and engineering experts. Our dedicated cyclist injury specialist, Philip Scarles, is a keen cyclist of many years giving him a particular interest and advantage when acting for cyclists who have suffered serious injuries in such accidents.
If you or a loved one have been injured in such an accident, do not delay, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback. The earlier you contact us the better chance we have of gathering the evidence to fight your case before any potholes are filled in, records are destroyed or memories have faded.