Driver sues council after potholes damage car

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Hamilton Bland took Coventry council to Court when they refused to compensate him for the damage to his car.  Mr Bland had been driving his Mercedes through Canley in Coventry in January 2010 when he hit potholes which damaged three of the car's wheels. 

Garage workers told Mr Bland that the wheels were beyond repair and they cost nearly £2,000.00 to replace.  It is assumed that the potholes opened up due to the severe weather.

The council refused to pay for the repairs, denying liability even though they have since resurfaced the road.  Mr Bland took his claim to Court and was successful.  Mr Bland says that his case "opens the door" to other motorists hoping to claim the cost of repairs to their vehicles caused by poorly maintained roads.

However, this claim comes when new rules allow councils to ignore all potholes smaller than a soup bowl and that all holes less than 4cm deep or 15cm wide  do not need to be treated or be filled in within 24 hours.

It has been estimated that 1 in 3 motorists in the UK have suffered car damage from potholes and that last year drivers spent £473 million on repairing their cars after pothole damage.  Balanced against this is the forecast that councils would have to pay an estimated £13 billion to repair all of our roads. 

Given that the cost of maintaining local roads has risen by 50% in the past 10 years and with council budgets slashed by a quarter I do not see any resolution to this growing problem any time soon. 

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