Only 2% of people who claimed for compensation for pothole damage to their cars in Gloucestershire last year were successful, according to the latest figures.
A freedom of information (FOI) request shows Gloucestershire County Council only paid out on 17 of the 847 claims it received in 2020.
The council paid out £6,204.25 in total for the claims which works out at an average of £364.96 for each.
Beccy Whittal runs fudge and confectionery company Whittals in Kent’s Green near Tibberton and is one of the many local motorists who have seen their vehicles damaged by potholes.
She says the state of local roads is frustrating and believes more should be done to fix them. “I nearly bottomed out in the Transit van,” she said.
“We had to keep going round the long way for deliveries. If we needed to get supplies, we couldn’t go the one way because it was all potholes and flooding.
“They’ve filled it in about three times and it’s still not right. They are just doing tiny patches. They need to take a chunk of the road out and do it properly.
“It’s so annoying. You pay all these taxes and what for?
“Imagine if you’ve got a Ferrari, you wouldn’t be very happy if the council don’t pay out when you claim.”
Motoring disputes expert Scott Dixon, who runs the website www.thegrumpygit.com, submitted the freedom of information about claims for pothole damage to vehicles.
He says it is clear that motorists are being fobbed off and unfairly treated by the council.
Mr Dixon suggests drivers should never refer to a pothole claim as an accident and encourages people to submit FOI requests to get the inspection and repair records to see how they compare to the council’s own policies.
“Accidents hold nobody liable, whereas an incident or collision does,” he said.
“You can use technology to reinforce your claim as some of these potholes can be seen from space on Google Earth. Google Street Maps has a date stamp as well,” he said.
“The average success rate for a pothole claim with Gloucestershire County Council in 2020 was 2% and £364.96 paid on each claim.
“Gloucestershire County Council need to explain this. Are the roads around Gloucestershire much better than anywhere else to warrant a 2% success rate on pothole claims? I’m sure that the residents will disagree on that.
“It appears that the damage sustained to motorist’s vehicles has been substantial in each case, and this requires a meaningful explanation from the council.”
The freedom of information request also revealed 25,394 potholes were fixed in 2020.
County council highway authority head Kathryn Haworth said: “Keeping our roads safe is our top priority and we continually inspect them to identify problems such as potholes, in accordance with our safety procedures.
“National guidance sets out how potholes should be prioritised and repaired and claims are assessed in line with this.
“We take every report by drivers seriously and we currently have over 40 crews dedicated to repairing potholes so that we can get them fixed them as soon as possible.
“We would encourage residents to let us know if they spot an issue on our roads at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/reportit.”
Credit: Carmelo Garcia, The Local Democracy Reporting Service