Pot luck for damage claims

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A vast majority of Wigan motorists claiming for damage caused by potholes have not been successful, according to new figures.

The number of claims submitted to the town hall more than doubled to 76 during 2015/16 but just four were successful.

This compares with 30 total claims the previous year of which nine were successful.

The figures, released by the RAC Foundation, ranks the borough as 68 out of 152 local authorities in terms of total claims.

Across the UK, motorists made more than 30,000 compensation claims for vehicle damage caused by poor road conditions in the last financial year, the figures show.

This equates to a claim being submitted every 17 minutes, but councils only paid out in just over a quarter (27 per cent) of completed cases.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said the national figures reflected the significant amount of funds required to fix the country’s road surfaces.

However, recent council figures have suggested the number of complaints about the borough’s roads have decreased with increasing amounts of funds spent on repairing road surfaces.

Mark Tilley, the council’s assistant director of infrastructure and regulatory services, said: “Over the last two years the Council Infrastructure Asset Group has targeted its investment into the resurfacing of carriageways which has helped in bringing down the overall number of defects such as potholes occurring.

“We have reviewed the way we respond to fixing highway carriageways defects and have adopted a robust inspection system identifying defects and ensuring repairs are undertaken swiftly, thus reducing claim numbers and resulting in the overall condition of the borough’s roads being one of the best in the region.”

Wigan Council forked out £1,579 on the four successful claims last year which pales in comparison to neighbouring Lancashire County Council which paid out £38,629 from 96 successful claims. Wigan’s rate of successful claims last year was eight per cent.