By ANISAH ARIF
Payouts of up to £90,000 have been given to motorists in the last three years due to dangerous potholes on the roads of Kirklees.
Since January 2016, Kirklees Council have received 755 claims against potholes, with 52 resulting in a win for the claimant so far, each one paying out an average of £1,772.
Successful claims in 2018 are double the figure in 2017, when only seven claims were paid out for pothole related damage.
In addition, the 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.
The worst road for painful potholes was Milford Street – responsible for damages totalling £17,747.14.
That was followed by potholes on Manchester Road, Slaithwaite- responsible for £17,660.16 worth of damage.
Dewsbury came in third, with Brunswick Street cashing up to £9,475.31, a pothole on Cedar Drive, Chickenley, was fourth (£7,576.74) and Cross Road, Thornhill was fifth (£4,856.00).
A driver who suffered whiplash-type neck and shoulder injuries after hitting a pothole, was paid more than £5,500 in compensation by Kirklees Council, earlier this year.
The payment was the largest sum paid out by the council in the last four years, a Freedom of Information request revealed.
The process of successfully claiming compensation involved proving the council has neglected or breached its legal duty to maintain the highways.
District and county councils are only responsible for smaller roads, with Highways England responsible for the nation’s motorways and major A-roads.
Different councils have different insurance arrangements for pothole damage claims. While some may pay claimants directly, others may outsource to a third party or have indemnity policies against such claims.
In November, a Freedom of Information request made to Highways England revealed that the number of successful pothole claims against it more than doubled between 2016/17 and 2017/18.
The figure rose from 212 to 528, with the agency blaming the cold weather brought on by ‘The Beast from The East’.
A spokesperson for the AA said: “Pothole insurance claims peaked earlier in 2018, but have been falling for the last half of this year – so it appears councils have been getting the problem under control.”
Huddersfield’s most expensive potholes
|Location||Total paid||Number of claims|
|Manchester Road, Slaithwaite||£17,660.16||1|
|Brunswick Street Dewsbury||£9,475.31||1|
|Cedar Drive, Chickenley||£7,576.74||1|
|Cross Road, Thornhill||£4,856.00||1|
|Ridgeway Close, Dalton||£3,419.98||1|
|Low Road, Dewsbury||£3,371.00||1|
|Lockwood Scar, Lockwood||£2,962.00||1|
|Cliffe Lane, Gomersal||£2,811.21||1|
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “The extreme weather conditions over the past winter has caused the roads to deteriorate at a faster rate with more potholes occurring.
“Kirklees Council’s adopted road network receives scheduled inspections by trained inspectors. Defects are assessed and those which may pose a danger to users of the highway are scheduled for repair.
“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.”
The authority pointed out that the FoI covered edge erosion, slips and trips that included personal injury claims and potentially costs.
It said that the Milford Street pay-out was for personal injury not vehicular and included costs but not claim payment.