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.

If you are a solicitor looking to make a claim against the council through the online Claims Portal, the council's Portal number is: G00439.  Our policy number is QLA 18AC04 0013 92. Please use this for all highway related claims.

Please note that the time periods listed below may not currently be achieved due to significant numbers of claims being received. We are working through claims as quickly as possible, based on the date they were received. Your patience is appreciated during this period.

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 or the M40 and do not inspect or maintain it or its slip roads. If you have suffered an incident on the A34 or the M40, you would need to contact Highways England whose responsibility it is. Their contact details are:

Highways England
General enquiries Tel: 0300 123 5000

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.

Before making a claim against the council it may be advisable to consider the likelihood of your claim being successful. Please be aware that a majority of claims are turned down and successfully defended.

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.

Please ensure that you provide all the information requested on the form as your claim will be returned if any information is missing. It is a requirement in law to provide a specific time, date and location of incident so please ensure you enclose full details of these on your claim form.

Please send the completed claim form to:

Insurance Team
Oxfordshire County Council
New Road

Upon receipt of your claim it will be fully investigated and a reply sent to you detailing the outcome of your claim.

You are entitled to seek independent legal advice at any time in relation to your claim and your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to provide this free of charge

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 claim form)
  • 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

The guidance sets time limits on the various stages for claims investigation. We are required to acknowledge receipt of your claim, and make a decision on it, within three months from receipt.

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.