Compensation claims as a result of highway defects | Oxfordshire County Council

Compensation claims as a result of highway defects

How to make a claim for compensation if you suffer a personal injury or damage to your property.

Our duty to maintain

Oxfordshire County Council is the Highway Authority for the majority of roads in the county, and we have a duty under the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highway. Generally speaking, this includes what most people would ordinarily think of as maintenance activities.

Please note that Oxfordshire County Council are not responsible for the A34 and do not inspect or maintain it or its slip roads. If you have suffered an incident on the A34, you would need to contact Highways England whose responsibility it is. The contact details for them are:

Highways England
Email: info@highwaysengland.co.uk
General enquiries tel: 0300 123 5000
Web address: http://www.highways.gov.uk/

Statutory defence

As well as putting a duty on us to maintain roads and footpaths, the Highways Act also gives reasons we can use in our defence against claims. Your claim will be considered bearing in mind the defence that the Act provides.

Making a claim

If you feel that we have failed in this duty and you have suffered a personal injury or damage to your property as a result of this failure, you can make a claim for compensation. We have prepared a claim form which will help speed up the process and allow us to make a decision as to whether we are liable or not.

However, some additional information may be required:

  • Claims for personal injury should include details of your injuries and, where possible, a report from your doctor. If your claim is successful we will refund any cost of obtaining a report
  • If, as a result of your injuries, you have suffered additional costs these can also be claimed. These should be listed separately and be accompanied by supporting documentation
  • If you are claiming for loss of income, then a letter from your employer providing details should support this
  • If you are making a claim for property damage, you must submit the original invoices for the repair, and also any invoices for the original purchase of the damaged item (should you still have them).

Please complete the claim form as fully as possible, or your claim may take longer for us to consider, and send it to:

Oxfordshire County Council
Highways and Transport
Ron Groves House
23 Oxford Road
Kidlington
OX5 2BP

Your claim will then be logged and sent to our Insurance Team.

Please note that if you are a solicitor looking to make a claim against the Council through the online Claims Portal, the Councils Portal number is: G00439. Please use this for all highway related claims.

How we will deal with your claim

National guidance has been published to assist those making and those defending claims for compensation. This guidance covers:

  • the information you need to send in when you make a claim (see above)
  • how long it should take to reach a decision on a claim
  • the documentation you can expect to receive if your claim is turned down.

At the moment, the guidance relates only to claims involving an element of personal injury. Our policy is to apply it to all claims we receive.

How long it will take

Due to a current unprecedented level of claims we might not be able to meet the targets shown below. However, we will attempt to deal with your claim as quickly as possible.

The guidance sets time limits on the various stages for claims investigation. We are required to acknowledge receiving your claim within 21 days and make a decision on liability within three months (including the 21 days). Our policy is to provide decisions on 90 per cent of claims within eight weeks of receipt. Sometimes this may not be possible if your claim is particularly complicated, or we have to pass it to someone else to consider.

Please ensure when enclosing photos and plans that appropriate postage is paid. Failure to make sure your claim has enough postage paid may result in the Post Office returning your claim to you and obviously delay the Council in processing it.

What happens next

Once we have investigated your claim we will write to you with our decision. Some personal injury and property damage claims will have to be passed to our claims handling agents, Zurich Municipal. If this applies to your claim we will let you know as soon as possible. If we decide to settle your claim, we will make you an offer based on the level of injury or value of damaged items. You are free to take independent legal advice on this offer, but we may not be able to cover your costs for doing this.

If we turn down your claim, we will explain our reasons for doing so, together with documents that support our decision, and also any documents that may support your claim. The amount of supporting documentation you receive will depend on the value of your claim and the extent of your injuries.

Referred claims

Some roads are the responsibility of other organisations, such as the Highways Agency or Oxford City Council. Problems with road conditions may also be caused by contractors working on our behalf, or for one of the utility companies (gas, water etc).

In these cases we will refer your claim on to these organisations and write to inform you. We will provide you with their details and the reason the claim has been referred to them, together with any supporting documents.

Appeals against the decision

There is no internal appeal procedure within the county council. If you feel that the wrong decision has been made, then please write to us. We will consider your reasons and reply to you.

At all times you have the right to seek independent legal advice. We will correspond with your Solicitor if you appoint one.

Advice can also be obtained from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Advice on how to take legal action can be obtained from the County Courts. This guidance note is issued on a without prejudice basis.

National Fraud Initiative

This authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and to this end may use any information you provide for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes.

Further information

Last reviewed
24 November 2016
PrintPrint Give us feedback on this pageFeedback form, opens in new window.
Access key details Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback