Personal injury specialist shares top tips for road users injured by potholes

A personal injury specialist with law firm Furley Page has offered guidance to road users injured by potholes, as latest figures suggest the poor state of Britain’s roads is contributing to record amounts of damage to vehicles, while road and walkway defects also cause thousands of injuries each year.

A pothole is a hollow or dip in the surface of a road caused by wear or sinking. According to the latest figures from the Pothole Partnership (a coalition of AA, JCB, British Cycling, National Motorcyclists Council), a record £474 million worth of damage was done to vehicles on UK roads in 2023*. Meanwhile this year’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey report estimates the cost of fixing the backlog of carriageway repairs at a record £16.3 billion.

Neille Ryan, a Partner and Head of Personal Injury at leading South East law firm Furley Page, said: “While potholes create an obvious risk of damage to vehicles, perhaps less obvious are the risks they and other surface defects present of causing injuries, in particular to cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Between 2018 and 2022, more than ten thousand people were injured by potholes and other surface defects, with common injuries including ligament damage to knees and ankles, as well as wrist sprains and fractures.

“If you suffer an injury as a result of a pothole or surface defect, you might be able to claim compensation. To support your case, you should try to take note of as many details as possible about the condition of the road, the size and location of the defect, and the circumstances surrounding the accident.”

  • Take photographs and measurements of the defect, clearly evidencing its size and depth.
  • Witnesses can provide useful evidence that the defect was the cause of your injury, so get the names and contact details of anyone who saw your accident.
  • Find out how long the defect had been like that – this is crucial because a Court will allow a reasonable period of time for the defect to have been repaired.
  • Report the incident as soon as possible after it’s happened – if you’ve reported the accident and the defect still isn’t fixed for some considerable while afterwards, that would provide good evidence that the system of inspection and maintenance is lacking.

Neille continued: “In the event that liability for the accident is denied, your solicitors will be able to check the records to assess the reasonableness of the local authority’s inspection and maintenance policy and ascertain whether or not the Highway Authority (usually the county council) followed its own rules.

“However, it is important to be aware of the limitation period for injury claims, which gives three years from the date of your pothole accident in which to either settle your claim or begin Court proceedings to protect it. If the deadline is missed your chances of being allowed to bring the claim are slim to non-existent.”

For further information, please contact Neille Ryan on 01227 763939 or email You can also follow the firm on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) @furleypage