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Can I sue my local council for damage caused by Potholes, Speed Bumps and Badly Maintained Roads?

Pothole damage to car

Hitting a deep pothole, even at quite a slow speed can damage your tyres, wheels and even steering alignment.

The cost of repairs may not be worth claiming on your insurance claim but you might be able to get compensation from the local council.

Potholes are those holes or depressions on a road’s surface. These are generally caused by a combination of water laying under the asphalt and constant traffic driving over it.

Potholes often begin start as a small crack or worn-away part of the road, but they worsen over time by the tyres of passing vehicles.

Can I claim for damage caused by potholes or other road hazards?

Yes, and Impel Legal’s paralegal can help you claim for pothole damage.

Before we can begin a claim on your behalf, you’ll need to tell us the road it happened on, as well as describe the extent of damage caused by the hazard, what the hazrd was, such as porthole, speed bump (sleeping policeman) and the date and time it occurred.

It is also useful to make a note of your whereabouts on the road, using a nearby marker post or landmark/feature, such as a school, pub, post office etc.

If you were on a motorway, it’ll help to know how the nearest junction, such as a mile away from J22 M25 Clockwise. Alternatively, you can use what3words for a precise marking of a location.

We need to determine who is responsible for potholes in the road

This all depends on the type of road you were on, and in order to make a claim, we will need to contact the organisation that’s responsible for maintaining the road.

Often it is very obvious. If you were travelling on a motorway in England, for example, it would probably be National Highways who are responsible for it. On most normal roads in England, you can report a pothole to find out which council is responsible.

In Wales, the trunk road agents manage, maintain and improve the Welsh Government’s strategic road network. The network is made up of major A-roads, known as trunk roads, and motorways. The trunk road agents cover 1510 kilometres of trunk road, including six road tunnels and 178 kilometres of motorway.

You cannot claim compensation if debris from another vehicle caused the damage. You will need to contact your insurer instead.


Will the council pay for pothole damage?

Councils may not be willing to pay for damage to your vehicle and will put up a good fight but they may still be liable.

On roads where a local council is certainly responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the road, they may be liable to pay for damage to your car.

If want Impel Legal’s paralegal to claim on your behalf for pothole damage or speedbump damage from a council, we will need as many details as possible about where and when the damage occurred, and the cost of repairs.

Here’s what you need to do to help us with your case:

1. Check for damage

Pothole and speedbump damage to your car can happen even at low speeds, but at high speeds it can be far worse.


    • Look for any visible damage to your wheels and tyres

    • Make a mental note of any vibrations whilst you’re driving and write them down when it is safe to do so.

    • Check if your steering wheel doesn’t centre properly or if the car pulls to one side

If you notice any damage orexperience steering that doesn’t seem right, it is important that you get your car checked by a reputable garage, preferably a main dealership or tyre specialist as soon as possible.

2. Take some notes

If you want Impel Legal’s paralegal to make a pothole or speedbump claim on your behalf we will need some essential information to back it up.

Don’t rely on your memory – it is essntial to take some notes and get written reports and quotes.


    • If you can do so, return to the scene, take notes or make sketches

    • If safe to do so, take lots of photographs of the pothole from different angles and if so, use a rule or tape measure to show how deep the pothole is, or how high the speedbump is.

    • If you don’t have any form of measuring instrument, use a familiar object such as a shoe or drinks can in your photo, to give a sense of scale.

    • Make a note of exactly where the pothole was, including the road name, town and its position on the road (you can also use what3words to mark a precise location)

    • Take down the contact details of anyone who saw what happened

3. Contact Impel Legal

Once we obtail all the necessary information from you, our paralegal will assess your claim and provide a proposal to move your claim forward and take action on your behalf.

We’ll take the strain and let you get on with your daily life without the worry and pressure.

4. Report the pothole

It is important that you report the pothole. A high speed hit could cause a driver to lose control or even crash, so it’s important that they’re fixed as a matter of urgency and not reporting it ASAP may go against your claim.


    • Let your local county, city or borough council know so they can fix the hole

    • Report a pothole in Northern Ireland on the NI Direct website

      Be mindful that the local highway authority can’t be held responsible for a pothole they didn’t know about. They might not have known about it if it hadn’t been reported to them, or because it wasn’t spotted by them during their regular checks. However, councils do have a responsibility to fix large potholes if they know about them. And they’re supposed to keep the roads safe, so you’ll need to argue that they’ve failed in this.

5. Repair your car

If have to get repairs done, make sure you get several quotes. s


    • Keep copies of all quotes, invoices and receipts to support your claim

It is useful to get a quote from a mechanic/garage confirming that the pothole caused the damage and the cost of any repairs.


If you can prove that a pothole is responsible for the damage to your car (whatever damage that may be) then you can make a claim.


How long will claiming for pothole damage take?

There is no set period that a claim needs to be resolved by, but it’s known that pothole damage cases can take months to unfold. Our best advice is to be prepared to wait for a bit, and be persistent.

How likely is it my pothole claim will be successful?

The more evidence you can provide with your pothole claim, the more likely it is to be successful. Make sure to follow the advice above to increase your chances of being compensated.