Claims for damages caused on a highway

Situations where you can make a compensation claim

You have a right to make a claim for compensation if your property has been damaged as a result of a pothole or other defect on a road or footpath. But you will only be given compensation if we are found to have been negligent or in breach of our legal duty under the Highways Act to maintain the highway.

To carry out our responsibilities under the Highways Act, we inspect roads and footpaths regularly following our Code of Practice for Highway Safety Inspections (PDF, 496KB). We identity and record defects and repair any we identify as being dangerous. The Highways Act recognises though that it’s not possible to prevent all defects.

This means that in law, the appearance of a defect doesn’t necessarily mean we have been negligent. We must use this law in our defence where appropriate. Any money we pay in compensation comes from public funds, and we have a duty to protect these funds.

Or put another way:
The Highways Act recognises that defects will arise on roads and footpaths, and their appearance does not necessarily mean that CEC has breached its statutory duty. If a defect has caused you to suffer an injury or damage to your property then you are entitled to make a claim for compensation, however the Highways Act provides us with a defence to these claims which we are obliged to use. CEC has a duty to protect the public funds it administers, so legitimate defences will be applied, where appropriate. We will only offer compensation if it is found to have been negligent or in breach of its statutory duty.

How to make a claim

To claim compensation for personal injury or for damages to a vehicle or other property, download and complete our third party claim notification form (PDF, 175KB).

Make sure that you complete the form fully and enclose all the documentation listed in the checklist. If you don’t, we will not be able to process your claim.

Helping a friend or relative

If you want to talk to us about another person’s case, you must ask the person to write to us saying they are happy for us to talk to you.

Professional advice

Our process for dealing with compensation claims will be the same whether you make the claim directly or through a third party. If you appoint a third party to act on your behalf, we’ll communicate with them directly. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau can give independent advice at no cost.

Next steps for claims

We’ll either investigate your claim ourselves or pass it to our insurer to investigate. We might ask you to meet one of our representatives at the site of the incident.

Our investigation will include any information you gave us if you reported the incident separately.

Once we have looked at all the evidence, our claims handlers will then assess whether we are liable. They will write to you to tell you the outcome of your claim.

Claims timescale

We start investigating once we have received all the information we need. For claims involving damage to property, we’ll aim to provide you with a decision within three months. 

Referred claims

As the Highways Authority for Cheshire East, we are responsible for most roads and footpaths in the borough. But some roads in Cheshire East are the responsibility of other organisations, such as the Highways Agency. Problems with road conditions might also be caused by contractors working on our behalf, or for another organisation or private individual.

If we aren’t responsible for the road concerned, we will either refer your claim to the party responsible, or give you their contact details (where possible).

Appealing the decision

We don’t have a formal appeal procedure. We make all decisions in accordance with our duties under the Highways Act. If we decide not to offer compensation and you want to question or challenge the decision, you must contact the claims handlers using the contact details on their letter to you.

Preventing fraud

We check all claims to prevent fraud. If you have made any similar claims, you must tell us about these when you make your claim.

Personal information

The personal information you provide will be used by us and insurers for the purposes of insurance administration and claims handling. It might also be shared with other third parties in relation to claims handling and fraud and crime prevention.

We might also need to disclose your personal information to regulatory bodies in connection with compliance with any regulatory rules or codes. These bodies include the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE) run by Insurance Database Ltd (IDSL), and the Motor Insurers Anti-Fraud Register run by the ABI. In dealing with a claim, we might search these and other registers.

Your personal information might also be used for statistical purposes.

For any of these purposes, your personal information may be transferred to any country, including those outside the European Economic Area.

Insurance claims information for solicitors

Following the Ministry of Justice reforms relating to personal injury claims not exceeding £25,000 in damages, all such legally represented claims for incidents occurring on or after 31st July 2013 must be submitted via the Claims Portal.

Our appointed claims handling agents for Public Liability claims are:

For incidents occurring 31st July 2013 to 31st March 2014 – Public Liability

Topmark Claims Management Limited
160 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4TB

Phone: 0141 331 6831

You should direct your claims via the Portal to Topmark under their organisation ID D00073.

For incidents occurring 1st April 2014 onwards – Public Liability

Gallagher Bassett International Limited
Level 4, Compass House, Rose Wharf, East Street, Leeds, LS9 8EE

Phone: 0113 246 2000

You should direct your claims via the Portal to Gallagher Bassett under their organisation ID D00019.