Councils in the areas worst hit by the winter storms are now facing a different kind of flood – a rising swell of automotive compensation claims – according to campaign website, Potholes.co.uk.
While homeowners seek compensation for damage to their houses, road users are also demanding remuneration for faults caused by pothole-ridden stretches of saturated roads.
In Somerset claims spiked at 204 in January / February from just 24 in November / December, a massive 750% increase in cases.
The same worrying trend has been spotted in some of the other regions worst hit by flooding at the start of this year. Surrey County Council reported a 353% increase and admitted that an “unprecedented number of claims” meant that there was still a backlog waiting to go on to the system, meaning the statistics will only get worse.
In Dorset, one of the worst hit flood areas, the County Council saw claims for pothole damage increase from 85 in November/December to 193 in January/February – up 127%. In January the county experienced up to 290mm of rain in some areas – almost three times the average expected at that time of year.
Worcester floods hit record levels in February and claims to the County Council also rose 400% from 25 in November/December to 125 in January/February.
To draw attention to the ongoing problem with the crumbling roads, Potholes.co.uk has unveiled a new design for temporary signage that could be adopted to warn motorists and other road users about pothole-ridden stretches of road.
Pothole damage to vehicles in the UK creates an estimated annual repair bill of £730million and continues to increase each year, according to research by Potholes.co.uk and Warranty Direct.
Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “With potholed stretches of road affecting many road users on a daily basis, there’s now real cause to create dedicated signage. Let’s give people a fighting chance of avoiding unnecessary garage bills or even personal injury.
“If road signs can warn of falling rocks from above then why not craters from below? The average bill for pothole damage now runs at £247, so a sign only needs stop a couple of incidents to justify the expenditure. The embarrassment will be for the Government in just how many signs need to be put up – there’s one pothole for every mile of road by some estimates.”
Even London Mayor Boris Johnson isn’t immune to the perils of potholes. In his Telegraph column (16/02/14), the cycling enthusiast admitted to being thrown from his handlebars and writing off his bike when he struck a road defect hidden by rainwater whilst riding up Whitehall in London.
While the average repair bill for pothole-induced damage is £247, Warranty Direct and Potholes.co.uk have identified recent claims as high as £2,700. The average cost for a council to repair a single pothole is only around £52, according to the Asphalt Industry Association.
If your vehicle has been damaged as a result of a pothole, you may be entitled to compensation from your council. Visit www.potholes.co.uk/claims/how_to_claim for more information.
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