If you have had an accident that was contributed to by a defect on the road, you may be able to claim reimbursement of your losses if you can prove that we have failed in our duties.
We have a robust system to demonstrate that we take all reasonable steps to make sure roads are safe. In practice, this means that all inspections and repairs carried out form the basis of the authority’s statutory defence against any claim under the Highways Act 1980.
The Highway Safety Inspection Manual describes how we comply with the national standards for road inspections and maintenance. This website tells you about the code of practice Code of Practice – well maintained highways infrastructure
The Legal Background
The key Act governing highways claims is the Highways Act 1980.
By making a claim, you are stating that the Council has been negligent and/or has not fulfilled its statutory obligations in terms of the above Act – in particular, Section 41 – “the duty to maintain”.
Claims may be redirected to third parties, such as Council contractors or utility companies, as appropriate.
How to make a claim
If you are a Third-Party Solicitor and wish to submit a new Employer’s Liability (EL), Public Liability (PL) or Road Traffic Accident (RTA) claim against the Council through the Claims Portal, the Council’s Portal Code is G00422.
If you are a claimant in person and wish to make a highways claim, please complete the highway claim form below.
The person filling in the form may need to know the claimant’s date of birth and national insurance number if claiming for personal injury.
Make an insurance claim
Please complete all sections of this form to ensure that your claim against Somerset Council can be investigated thoroughly.
You must be over the age of 18 to complete the form. If you are under the age of 18 a parent or guardian must complete it on your behalf.
We deal with highway claims for property damage in the spirit of the framework set out by the UK Courts in the Pre-action Protocol. We must provide a decision on liability within 40 working days but only after you have provided sufficient written information for us to be able to investigate.
Our Highways department prepares a full accident report for the accident location. This provides the detailed maintenance history, photographs and the complete documentary evidence for the location.
Motor insurance claims
If you have been involved in an incident with a Somerset Council vehicle, please provide the following information to our insurance team, using these contact details.
Post: Insurance, County Hall, The Crescent, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY
- Your full name and address
- The vehicle registration
- The date of the incident
- Where the incident happened
- The circumstances of incident
- The damage sustained
- Your insurance details if necessary
Before making a claim for compensation against the Council, please note the following:
- Everybody has the right to make a claim, but the Council will only give compensation if it is legally at fault for the incident
- If you are insured privately for the damage or injury sustained, such as motor insurance, you may wish to report the claim to your insurers. If you are covered, they will settle your loss in full and then pursue recovery against the Council on your behalf, reducing the administrative burden on you
- Fraudulent claims will be prosecuted and could result in imprisonment
Please note that failure to provide sufficient information in your letter or claim form will result in it not being considered a letter of claim and it will be returned to you for more information.
How long does it take?
When you contact us, we will acknowledge receipt of your claim within 7 working days and tell you if we have enough information to investigate it.
We expect to have finished our investigations of your incident within 40 working days and will tell you whether we consider ourselves to be able to successfully defend this matter in the courts or concede.
If there are any delays in our investigation, which will significantly extend the life of the claim, we will make every effort to tell you.
We have a duty to protect the public funds we administer, and to this end may use the information you have provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. We may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds and compensatory bodies for these purposes.
In accordance with the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997, the Council are legally required to report all claims for personal injury to the Department for Work and Pensions.
We may pass information on your claim to the Motor Insurance Anti-fraud and Theft Register, run by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). More information