Highway Maintenance

Highway Claims

1. Introduction

1.1 Third Party claims against the County Council as highway authority can be for either personal injury accidents or damage to personal property such as cars, clothing or premises, caused by alleged defects in the publicly maintainable highway or a nuisance caused or permitted by the County Council.

1.2 The County Council is self-insured and deals with all third party claims in-house.

2. Relevant Legislation

2.1 Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 imposes a duty on the Highway Authority (Hampshire County Council) to maintain "highways maintainable at public expense".

2.2 Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides the County Council with a statutory defence against claims where it can establish that reasonable care has been taken to "secure that the part of the highway to which the action relates was not dangerous to traffic". A systematic process of highway safety inspections, intervention and repairs applied in accordance with the County Council’s policy is necessary for the statutory defence.

3. Policy

3.1 The County Council operates a systematic process of highway safety inspections, intervention and repair to satisfy its statutory obligation under Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980.

3.2 The County Council keeps records of its inspections on the highway and construction and maintenance activities, together with any defect reports received from third parties. The County Council decides whether it is liable using evidence to ascertain whether it has been negligent or in breach of its statutory duty. Such decisions are based on legal principles.

3.3 The County Council must process all claims in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules. The County Council investigates and considers each claim on its merits, irrespective of value. The County Council defends claims where it does not agree it is liable. The County Council settles claims promptly where it admits it is liable.

3.4  Where convenient and appropriate the County Council aims to resolve subsidence related enquiries in the first instance using the London Tree Officers’ Association’s Joint Mitigation Protocol, in order to avoid the need for claims.

3.5 The County Council acts on reports of highway defects in the interest of safety, without prejudice to any claims that might be associated with them.

Version No:   1.1

Effective from:   14/10/2010

If copied or printed, this document should be treated as uncontrolled and correct only at the date it was copied or printed.