Road Traffic Accidents caused by Bad Roads

by MichaelLewin on September 24, 2014

With winter rapidly approaching and the temperatures tumbling in the oncoming months, the state of the UK’s roads come into question again. Counsels spend millions of pounds repairing the roads however many of you will know examples of where there is a pot hole which has remained a hazard for quite some time.

Between March 2012 and March 2013, almost 19,000 people in the UK were injured or killed as a result of bad road conditions. This means that a staggering 10% of all road accidents are caused by bad road conditions, with the remaining 90% caused by human error.

Potholes, tar overbanding, obscured road signs, worn surfaces and diesel spills can all contribute to accidents for even the most careful driver. At Michael Lewin Solicitors, we can help you in the event that you fall foul to such an incident.

If you have an accident as a consequence of bad road conditions then the first thing you need to do is take photographs of the hazard. Many of you will have a smart phone with a camera therefore take numerous photograph’s and use other objects in order to prove the scale of the problem, for example, lay your keys on the floor next to or in the pot hole and take a number of photograph’s. The most useful tool would be to use a measuring stick however it is appreciated that not many people will have this this equipment stored in their car.

If you have independent witnesses observing the incident, make sure you take their details in order for them to give their statements. The onus is on the Claimant to prove that the road was faulty and contained a hazard therefore it is a necessity to obtain as much evidence as possible in order to prove your claim.

It is essential to pursue a claim as soon as possible as delaying this will weaken the prospects of success and make it harder to prove. Once you have instructed a solicitor, they will contact the relevant authority in order to request statements and records regarding the maintenance of the road.

My colleagues and I have dealt with a number of these cases in the past. In 2012, we dealt with a motorcyclist who collided with a pothole and was thrown over the handlebars of his motorbike. As a result, he suffered with broken ribs and soft tissue injuries to his back and neck. After proving the accident and injuries were caused by the pothole, the client was awarded a substantial sum in compensation.

Also in 2012, we dealt with a car driver who lost control of her vehicle on a roundabout, spinning into a ditch due to a significant oil spillage that was leaked from a farm vehicle. She suffered with soft tissue injuries to her neck, back and shoulders. In this example, the highways agency and the owner of the farm were included as Defendant’s.

Earlier this year we dealt with a London taxi driver who ran over a pothole exacerbating neck and back injuries. It was proved that the authority were aware of the hazard in the road and that they acted negligently by failing to repair this defect before the accident occurred.

The main advice we can provide is attempt to avoid such hazards, however there are times when they are purely unavoidable. The RAC have developed a mobile app which makes it easy to report potholes. It has GPS and alerts you to the hazards when you’re driving. If you do have an unfortunate incident with a bad road, follow our advice to ensure the council involved is held liable.

Richard has been been working in the industry for 4 years, and has dealt with road traffic accident cases, criminal injury cases and the occasional employment law case.

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