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Step-by-step guide

With the help of experts in the field of highway engineering, local government and those who defend claims against local authorities, has put together a step-by-step guide to help you make a claim if a pothole has damaged your car.

Gather evidence

Step 1: Gather evidence

Gather evidence of the pothole as soon as you hit it. As long as it's completely safe to do so, take photographs, measure the pothole's width and depth and note anything else about it, such as its position on a blind corner, whether it was hidden from view, etc.

Report the pothole

Step 2: Report the pothole

Report the pothole on and to the relevant council or highways agency - being a "good citizen" and helping other motorists will do your case no harm.

Submit a Freedom of Information Act

Step 3: Submit a Freedom of Information Act

Submit a Freedom of Information Act to the relevant council or highways agency to find out how often the road is inspected and maintained.

Don't be deterred

Step 4: Don't be deterred

If (or when!) your claim gets rejected under section 58 of the Highways Act, don't panic - this is to be expected and not the end of the story.

Read the national code

Step 5: Read the national code

Download the national code of good practice for highway maintenance.

Make your claim

Step 6: Make your claim

Stay calm at all times - remember when contacting a council that anything you say could be read out in court, so make sure you sound professional as much as you can and never lose your temper.

Analyse your council's practice

Step 7: Analyse your council's practice

Highlight both where your council's maintenance programme mirrors the code and where it differs - this will help you consider how they may fight your claim

Consider your case carefully

Step 8: Consider your case carefully

Consider your case carefully - if the council's inspection policy mirrors the national code and they've followed what they are supposed to, your claim is unlikely to succeed.

Don't be hasty

Step 9: Don't be hasty

Don't rush to issue Court proceedings or appoint a solicitor.

Be willing to negotiate

Step 10: Be willing to negotiate

If an offer is made, be willing to negotiate and maybe accept less than you claimed for.

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