Last updated:

1st July 2024

Making a highways claim

Submit a personal injury or property damage claim

If you are injured, or your vehicle or other personal property is damaged, you may have the right to make a claim for compensation. However, there is no automatic right to compensation.

A claim can only be paid where there is evidence of negligence or a breach of statutory duty on the part of the council.

The existence of a defect on the highway, for example a ‘pothole’, is not in itself evidence of negligence and the relevant provisions of the Highways Act 1980 will apply.  

As such, you will have to show what the negligent acts or omissions were that led to the defect arising.

Please think carefully before making a claim. Although all claims are passed to, and handled by, the council’s insurers, most claims fall within the policy excess and consequently the council ends up funding the majority of claims itself. Therefore, compensation is paid from its own financial resources. Please note that claims cannot be paid purely on the basis of sympathy or goodwill.

It is possible you may have other insurances that cover the damage. The quickest and easiest way of dealing with the matter would be to pass your claim to your own insurers to settle directly. They may then seek to recover their costs directly from the council – saving you the effort of doing so.

If you do choose to submit a claim, it will be investigated by the council’s highways department and contractors who are allowed a reasonable amount of time to do so. Following this, the claim will be passed to the council’s insurers.

Please ensure you provide us with sufficient detail for us to investigate the matter. This will include an accurate location description or map, and any supporting documents or photographs. You must identify a specific defect.


All the following information must be sent to in the first instance, before any claim can be discussed with our team. Failure to provide all the requested information may cause a delay in us investigating your claim. By submitting, you agree to the declaration at the bottom of the page.

  • The ‘type’ of incident (injury, damage to car etc.)
  • Your title
  • Your full name
  • Your full postal address
  • Your e-mail address
  • A daytime contact telephone number
  • Your date of birth
  • Are you making this claim on behalf of yourself or for someone else
  • If someone else, please explain who they are and why you are making the claim for them
  • The date of the alleged incident DD-MM-YY
  • The approximate time of the incident
  • The make, model and age of your vehicle
  • Are you the owner of the vehicle
  • Your vehicle’s registration number
  • A brief description of what happened
  • The weather conditions at the time of the incident
  • Visibility at the time of the incident
  • If it was dark, was there any street lighting
  • What was the speed of your vehicle at the time of the incident?
  • A map showing the exact location of the incident, including the name of the road
  • What do you allege was the cause of the damage/injury
  • Were you previously aware of the alleged defect/problem/pothole
  • If yes, had you already reported it to the council
  • What are the reasons why you believe the council is responsible for your loss: i.e. your allegations of negligence/breach of statutory duty against the council
  • Copies of all relevant receipts/invoices showing the amount(s) you wish to claim
  • Were there any witnesses to the incident
  • If yes, provide their contact details if possible
  • Were the police informed
  • If yes, what did they do
  • Photos of: the damage (to the vehicle) or injury; the defect/pothole; and the road showing the location of the defect/pothole
  • If there are there any additional comments you wish to make, or any further information you wish to provide, please do so here.

The council and/or its insurers may need to ask you for more information.


By submission of this information you declare that:

  1. The foregoing statements are true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief
  2. I understand and accept the following.

The authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers and to this end may use information I have provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also, for these purposes, share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds. 

The existence of a defect on the highway is not itself evidence of negligence or breach of statutory duty and may not of itself entitle me to compensation.

There is no automatic right to compensation and my claim will be dealt with on the basis of legal liability only: i.e. it must be shown that the council has been negligent or in breach of a statutory duty.

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