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Public liability claims

Maintenance of highways

The law requires us to maintain all highways we have responsibility for. National Highways is responsible for maintenance of roads such as the A11 and A47. You can telephone National Highways on 0300 123 5000.

We have a programme of inspection for the highways we are responsible for. We identify any maintenance that is needed. The frequency of inspection depends on the classification of the road or path.

When a defect is identified on an inspection or is otherwise reported, any necessary repairs will be carried out or the area made safe.

Although our inspection process is robust and follows national standards, we also rely on the public to report areas of concern. We will ensure that all reported concerns are followed up and receive the appropriate response or action.

If you are involved in an incident

If you are involved in an incident that you consider having been caused by Norfolk County Council, you may be able to claim compensation.

It is however important to understand the circumstances in which Norfolk County Council can be held responsible and a little of how the civil claim process operates.

The law

The law sets out what is meant by maintenance and some things are excluded. For example, it does not include keeping a road free of mud, debris or water.

If you think that we have in some way failed to maintain the highway, then you will have to prove this. You will have to show that the highway in question has not been maintained appropriately with regard to its importance and use and was therefore dangerous.

If this can be proved you have to show that this was the cause of the incident, and that you have suffered a loss as a result. Even if you can prove these things, the law gives a defence to the Highway Authority, and we will not have to compensate you if we can demonstrate that we took all reasonable steps to ensure the highway was safe. This means that all inspections and repairs had been carried out as planned or reported.

Unfortunately incidents do occur, however very few are actually attributable to negligence on the part of us as Highway Authority. As such, the majority of claims brought against Norfolk County Council are successfully defended.

If your claim involves a defect on the highway that results in subsequent repair, this does not imply an acceptance of liability by Norfolk County Council for the claim.

Think carefully before making a claim

We must protect the public funds we handle. The cost of processing unsuccessful or fraudulent claims diverts these funds from valuable front line services.

We may use the information relating to your claim to prevent and detect fraud. We may also share this information, for the same purposes, with other organisations that handle public funds.

If you wish to make a claim:

Complete the third party liability incident form (PDF) [107KB]

You will need to provide the following details:

  • Exact location of incident
  • Time, date and weather
  • Direction of travel, by foot or vehicle
  • Sketch of incident location and photographs, if available
  • Detail of damage or injury suffered
  • Why you believe the Highway Authority is responsible for your incident

For vehicle claims you will also need to provide:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • Copy of current MOT and insurance certificate
  • Date of last service carried out
  • Two independent estimates for repair (unless repair was required immediately, eg broken windscreen)

For personal injury claims, you will need to supply your:

  • National Insurance number
  • Date of birth
  • Documentary evidence in support of any other losses

In addition we may seek permission to access your medical records.

When your claim is received we will:

  • Acknowledge receipt of your claim within 21 days for injury claims, and within seven days for property damage claims
  • Thoroughly investigate the particulars of the claim
  • Either produce sufficient evidence to refute your claim or accept your claim within 90 days of our acknowledgement

We may not be responsible for the location or type of works being undertaken. For example, utility operations like gas, electric, water, trunk roads and private properties. In these circumstances we will advise you of this as soon as is reasonably practicable.

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