We are responsible for managing a highway network of 2,368 miles of road and 1,650 miles of footway. Our resources are limited but we try to keep defects to a minimum. We accept that we may not always meet everyone’s expectations.
Damage to vehicles or personal injury sustained on the highway is regrettable, so, we endeavour to maintain our highways to a standard appropriate to their status and use.
The Highways Agency and other parties
It may be that your accident has occurred at a location that we are not responsible for, such as:
- A motorway or trunk road – the Highways Agency is responsible for these roads.
- On private property or an unadopted road.
- At a roadwork site i.e. National Grid, E.ON, BT, Severn Trent.
Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 imposes a duty on us to maintain highways. To ensure our legal obligations are met we have in place a regular system of inspection and repair.
Each road or footway is classified according to its importance and use. If a defect is identified on inspection or if someone reports it, necessary action or repairs will be carried out.
If you suffer an accident
If you have had an accident you feel has resulted from a defect in the highway you may be able to claim. It will be necessary to prove that the defect in the highway caused your accident and that we failed in our duties.
The law and you
For a claim to be successful in law it must be demonstrated that:
- the highway in question has not been maintained appropriately in accordance to the duties imposed upon us by law; and
- that this was the direct cause of your accident.
If both components of this two stage test are satisfied you may be entitled to compensation for any losses arising out of the accident. However, if the County Council can demonstrate that it took all reasonable steps to ensure the highway was safe by showing that all necessary inspections and repairs have been carried out then the claim will be defended.
If you decide to claim
If you decide to claim you will need to complete the claim form.
You must provide as much information as possible and include a sketch plan, photographs of the location and damage/injury and also estimates/invoices for repair of the vehicle or property damaged, plus copy of vehicle documents.
We may require your attendance at a site meeting in order to correctly identify the accident location.
Failure to provide all the relevant information will mean the investigation of your claim will be delayed.
If you make a claim we will
Your claim will be handled by our claims team or appointed claims handlers, our insurers or solicitors.
Upon receipt of your claim form and other relevant documentation we will deal with your claim in accordance with the legal framework that governs these claims.
Your claim will be acknowledged within 21 days of receipt. We will indicate if we have enough information to investigate your claim and if not we will advise you what else we require. We will also confirm who will be dealing with your claim and provide contact details.
We will endeavour to advise you within 90 days of commencement of the investigation whether your claim is accepted or rejected.
Should I claim?
Please think carefully before making a claim. Past records indicate that we have successfully defended a very large number of highway claims.
The highway network must be managed and maintained as effectively as possible. Our insurance policy excess is £125,000, any successful claims are paid out of County funds and so there will be less money for front line services, including maintenance of highways.
Your own insurers may be able to help.
Unfortunately local authorities are increasingly becoming victims of fraudulent insurance claims.
Fraud is not a victimless crime.
We take fraud very seriously and any suspected fraud will be thoroughly investigated. Penalties for those committing fraud can include imprisonment and fines.
Please send your completed claim form to:
Law and Governance
Warwickshire County Council
PO Box 9
CV34 4RR01926 476895