Can I claim compensation after a crash caused by a road defect?

insurance company for claiming

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident, we understand how much of an effect it may have had on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Many people know that they can claim compensation if an accident is caused by someone else, but what if the accident is caused by a road defect? In this article, I will look at how you might be able to make a claim following a crash caused by potholes, uneven surfaces, unclear road signage and other common road defects.

Can I make a claim for a road traffic accident?

To claim for a road traffic accident, you must have been injured in an accident in the last three years, which was at least partially the fault of another party. In the case of accidents caused by road defects, the most challenging part of building a successful claim is proving that poor road conditions were responsible for your accident and that the body responsible was negligent in their duty to maintain the roads.

Who is responsible for road defects?

Roads in the UK are littered with potholes, obscured signage, poor drainage and worn or slippery surfaces. Every defect has the potential to cause a serious accident, and it is the responsibility of Local Authorities to maintain the roads in their area to a reasonable standard. If they fail in this duty, you may be able to bring a compensation claim. However, it is not always straightforward to prove that the Local Authority has not met their obligations – they cannot reasonably be expected to keep on top of every road defect.

Claiming for an injury caused by a road defect

To give your case the best chance of success, you will need to gather evidence to support your claim. You should take photos of the defect that caused your accident and gather statements from witnesses where possible. You should also contact the police at the earliest opportunity to make them aware of the accident.

A personal injury lawyer can help you understand whether you have a claim and they will then help you to find out who you should bring your claim against. Your solicitor will ask you questions to find out more about what happened to you and to allow them to set out your claim clearly before sending it to the other party. Your solicitor will also advise you as to how much your claim might be worth – this will generally be dependent on the type and severity of your injury.

We know it can seem overwhelming to speak to a lawyer but getting the legal advice you need is the first step to getting the compensation you deserve.

To discuss a Personal Injury matter directly with Gerard, please call 01483 887766, email or start a live chat today.

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.  


Gerard Sanders

Partner, Head of Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence

Gerard qualified with a large regional firm in 1991. Since 1995 he has specialised exclusively on claimant personal injury work. More recently he has focused...

Gerard Sanders - Head of Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence

Partner, Head of Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence

Gerard Sanders

Gerard qualified with a large regional firm in 1991. Since 1995 he has specialised exclusively on claimant personal injury work. More recently he has focused on complex higher value clinical negligence and personal injury claims, achieving seven figure settlements in personal injury cases involving amputation, multiple orthopaedic injuries and head injuries.

His greatest success has been winning the high profile case of Delaney-v-The Secretary of State for Transport where after almost 9 years of litigation involving two Court of Appeal hearings and an application to the Supreme Court he was finally able to establish that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Agreement was incompatible with EEC law. As a direct result of the decision in this case the agreement has had to be amended to the benefit of many future victims of uninsured drivers.

Gerard is a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and he appears in the latest Legal 500 rankings in the fields of personal injury and clinical negligence.

Gerard’s other professional qualifications include a Diplome D’Etudes Juridiques Francaises from Strasbourg University.

What do people say about Gerard?

“I have the highest regard for you and your company.” – Dr Philip Steadman , Consultant Psychiatrist.

“He is a pleasure to work with and always gains the absolute best outcome for those who instruct him. He is highly responsive and he has an eye for detail with a sensible overview of the global issues.” – Colin McDevitt, Barrister, 3 Paper Buildings.

“I think that is an excellent outcome!. You have phenomenal negotiation skills. I work with insurers every day and to say the very least they are a challenge!” – client.

“It has been an unbelievably difficult time over the past few years. The decision to have my leg amputated was not particularly easy, nor was the rehabilitation. To do all of that whilst worrying about my case would have quite simply been overwhelming. Having you there meant that I had none of that worry. I have always known as I was in incredibly good hands and that I had nothing to be concerned about… You have made a unfathomably difficult situation immeasurably easier, and I will be forever grateful to you.” – client.