Highway Incident Claims

East Sussex County Council is only liable to pay for claims if there is clear evidence that we have been negligent in the inspection and maintenance of our roads and pavements. There is no automatic right to compensation.

Our responsibilities

We have a duty to take reasonable steps to maintain the highway network within East Sussex. We do this by regularly inspecting our roads and pavements on a planned basis. Busy, main roads are inspected more frequently than minor country roads. Defects noted when we inspect roads will be scheduled for repair in accordance with our Transport Asset Management Plan. This may be an urgent repair or work could be included within longer term planned maintenance.

Roads and pavements cannot remain in a perfect condition at all times. Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 allows the Council to defend claims for compensation if we can demonstrate that reasonable steps were taken to maintain the highway. This means inspections and repairs being carried out as planned.

Thinking of making a claim

Please consider the following points before you submit a claim. Making a claim can be a lengthy process and may not result in a pay-out. Any compensation is paid from public money so we will always be robust in our investigation of claims. The decision on liability will be based on the facts of each case and the law. Because of the legal defence available, on average, 70% of claims are unsuccessful.

How to make a claim for vehicle or property damage

If your claim relates to vehicle or property damage, please use the form below to make your claim. Please also make sure you report the defect in the road so we can make sure it's repaired quickly.

Your claim must include the following information:

  • the exact location of the incident with reference to an adjacent building or landmark;
  • sketch or map of the incident location – showing the direction of travel;
  • a full description of the defect; the time, date and weather conditions;
  • detail of damage plus two independent estimates for repair (unless repair was required immediately, eg. broken windscreen);
  • proof of vehicle ownership; and
  • copy of current MOT and insurance certificate.

Highways Claim Form (Adobe PDF)

We cannot return any documents, so please only send copies.

How to make a claim for personal injury

If your claim involves personal injury please complete the relevant sections of the Highways Claim Form (Adobe PDF)

In addition to details of the incident you will need to include:

  • details of the injury that you sustained;
  • your National Insurance number and date of birth;
  • contact details for your GP or any treating NHS hospital;
  • details of your earnings if your claim involves loss of earnings.

How we handle your claim

When we receive your claim we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of the claim within 21 days
  • produce sufficient evidence to refute or accept the claim
  • write to you within 90 days of acknowledging your claim explaining whether or not the Council is liable to pay compensation. This is the period specified for a response within the Civil Procedure Rules.

We are unable to update you on the progress of your claim during the investigation. So, please be patient with us.

Where do I send my claim form

Completed claim forms and accompanying information can be scanned and emailed to highwaysclaims@eastsussex.gov.uk

Alternatively, please send your completed claims form and accompanying information to:

East Sussex County Council, Highways Claims Co-ordinator, Ringmer Depot, The Broyle, Ringmer, East Sussex, BN8 5NP.