9 Mar 2007

A pothole made me crash...what now?

CIMG1038.JPG, originally uploaded by mayhem.

So, that innocent-looking puddle turned out to be a nasty pothole and you've got a damaged bike, or worse still you fell and have some injuries. Chances are that Herts Highways should have fixed that pothole before you found it, and they may be liable for damage to you and/or your bike. What do you do now?

  1. Report the accident. If you're unlucky enough to have been taken away in an ambulance the police may have attended, otherwise make sure you report it to the police. Make sure you get and keep references and the names and addresses of any witnesses if another vehicle was involved, in the same way you would for a car accident.
  2. Report the pothole. This is very important to prevent others from suffering the same fate and to ensure that Herts Highways have a record of the incident if the pothole has been reported before. Please let STACC know too. Click here for our guide on reporting potholes. Don't forget to take photos if at all possible, even if it means that you (or a friend) need to go back to the scene later.
  3. Record any damage or injuries. Take photographs of any injuries as soon as possible and obtain a hospital or GP's report if you are treated for injuries. Try to get hold of any police reports and make sure you have the name and number of any police who attended the scene. Photograph and note all damage to your bike, accessories or clothing and keep everything.
  4. Get legal advice. If you're a member of the CTC you'll be able to get free legal advice- many other similar organisations offer similar schemes. Your trade union or employer's employee assistance scheme may also be able to help, and it's worth checking if you are covered by bike or household insurance. (Your bike is insured, isn't it?). If you're not otherwise covered you can engage your own solicitor or look for help from one of the many 'no win no fee' agencies. You may also be able to lodge a claim yourself but we can't offer any advice on how to do this at the moment- start with the Citizen's Advice Bureau.
  5. Get repair quotes and keep receipts. It's probably best to get legal advice before having your bike repaired, but if your bike is your only means of transport you may need to have to repaired quickly. Get several quotes from reputable bike shops, and if you have repairs done make sure you keep receipts and the damaged parts. Bike shops may charge you for quotes, don't forget to include this cost in your claim.
  6. Be patient. The legal process may take some time, especially if injuries are involved.

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