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Few end up with payout if they claim pothole damage
MOST compensation claims over damage from the county’s roads are rejected, figures uncovered by the Oxford Mail reveal.
Of the 2,524 property damage claims lodged at Oxfordshire County Council over the last three years just 546 (21 per cent) were honoured.
And claims for personal injury were even less successful with just 27 out of 393 (seven per cent) resulting in payouts.
Almost £400,000 has been paid out since 2010, with the bulk – about £340,000 – coming after the bitter winter of 2010/11.
The figures, revealed as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by the Oxford Mail – come as anger mounts over the state of the county’s roads.
But deputy council leader Rodney Rose said the council did not have to pay out for defects it did not know about.
He said: “If a defect appears overnight then somebody goes into it that morning the county council is not culpable.”
The Conservative added: “People drive on the highway at their own risk. Some need to go to Specsavers.
“If they have hit a pothole and we don’t know about it how can anybody find it to repair it?”
But Michael Powell, 68, an engineer who is awaiting the outcome of his claim in June for £189 over damage to his Mercedes 270 in Denchworth Road, Grove, in May, said: “Haven’t they got people travelling up and down the highways making checks on this?”
Claimants must include a map showing the exact location of the incident and a colour photograph of the defect.
Liberal Democrat group leader Zoé Patrick said: “Some drivers are complaining parts of the road have so many potholes that they don’t know which specific one it was.”
More than 13,400 defects have been fixed by the council since April after another harsh winter left roads cracked. More than 2,500 are still outstanding.
The authority aims to fill in defects within 28 days but a survey by the Oxford Mail in May found six out of 10 were not repaired in that time.
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