Council pays out over £90,000 for pothole claims – but most cases fail

By Tony Earnshaw and Michael Goodier

MOTORISTS have received more than £90,000 in insurance payouts in the last three years because of dangerous potholes on Kirklees roads.

Of the 755 claims made against Kirklees Council since January 2016, only 52 have resulted in a win for the claimant so far, each one paying out an average of £1,772.

The number of successful claims paid in 2018 (15 up until December), is more than double the 2017 figure, when only seven claims were paid out for pothole-related damage.

Additionally, the total number of claims (including unsuccessful ones) more than quadrupled, from 94 to 436.

However, the total amount paid fell from £10,987 to £4,798.

That’s lower than in 2016, when the council received 225 different claims and a total of £76,358 was paid out.

Three roads in North Kirklees came in the top five worst for painful potholes. Brunswick Street in Dewsbury was third – responsible for damages totalling £9,475.31, a pothole on Cedar Drive, Chickenley, was fourth (£7,576.74) and Cross Road, Thornhill was fifth (£4,856.00). The top two were Milford Street in Huddersfield (£17,747.14) and Manchester Road in Slaithwaite (£17,660.16).

Earlier this year a driver suffered whiplash-type neck and shoulder injuries after hitting a pothole and was paid more than £5,500 in compensation by Kirklees Council.

The payment was the largest sum paid out by the council in the last four years, a Freedom of Information request revealed.

To successfully claim compensation claimants need to prove that the council has neglected or breached its legal duty to maintain the highways.

A Kirklees Council spokesman said extreme winter weather had made the problem worse and said the authority regularly checks roads it is responsible for. 

He said: “There will be occasions when defects develop between scheduled inspections and we welcome reports of these defects and we ask that these are reported using the mapping facility on the Kirklees website at"

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