All motorists will have noticed the damaging effect that last year’s cold snap had on the roads in Northern Ireland. Pot holes appeared in numerous locations across many roads. While it is best to take care and avoid them, motorists are left wondering where they stand if they damage their vehicle driving through a pothole. Tony McKeown, Marketing Director at CRASH, explains:
Pot hole claims can be taken against the Department for Regional Development if you believe that the road surface was to blame for your accident. However they are extremely difficult to prove, can be lengthy and are rightly contested to save the public purse. There are a number of important processes involved in making a claim against the Department as you need to prove they were negligent. In simple terms, they knew about the defect but failed to rectify within a reasonable time.
One of the most important tasks you should carry out is to see if there are any witnesses who can verify that the road conditions were poor and led to your accident. If you or anyone there was able to take photographs of the scene and especially the offending road condition, this may be integral to claiming against the Department for poor road surfaces. These photographs are even more successful if they have some way of showing the size of the defect. For example, if there is a hole in the road, try and ensure there’s a photo of something next to it in order to show the size of the hole, but its important to measure it also if possible.
Once reported to the Department they will investigate these claims and may already be aware of an issue in the area where your accident occurred or perhaps will know of a reason why the road could have been in poor condition that day.
It is best to use the services of an accident management company to guide you through the process. They can seek evidence from the Department that they have maintained the road surface to the best of their ability in the area where your crash occurred. Also, they may be able to obtain inspection records from them which should show dates of when the road was last maintained. All of which is important in establishing whether you can recover from them for your losses.