About Reporting a Personal Injury or Damage to Your Property
Advice on making a claim for an incident you think is our fault
If you are a claimant representative and wish to issue a claim notification form, please select D00019 - Gallagher Bassett as the compensator in the claims portal.
The usual portal timescales will apply to the handling of these claims.
If your client's claim does not fall into the portal guidelines, please send your letter of claim directly to the Insurance team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use the data you give us in this form.
If you've suffered an injury or damage to your property that you feel is our fault, it's important to recognise that there's no automatic right to compensation. Because compensation comes from public funds, we have a duty to all residents to investigate claims thoroughly.
Compensation is only paid where there is proof that it was our fault, and it can be proven that:
- the area where the incident happened was not properly maintained and was dangerous as a result
- the defect was the direct cause of the damage or injury that you suffered
The presence of a defect does not make us automatically liable for any damage or injury arising from it. The defect has to be a real cause of danger to the public that we should act on.
If you have insurance for damage to your vehicle or property, you may wish to report the incident to your insurer first. If successful, your insurer may then pursue a recovery action against the Council on your behalf, reducing the administrative burden on you.
If you have home insurance, you may have a policy that pays "new for old" - a claim against us is not settled on this basis. For example, if we cause damage to a carpet that is 12 years old, any settlement will be based on the value of a 12 year old carpet and not a new one.
The Council does not have the capacity or resources to carry out repairs to your damaged property.
All claims are proactively investigated - fraudulent claims will be prosecuted and could result in imprisonment.
We share information on claimants with our insurers, the Association of British Insurers and the National Fraud Initiative for the purpose of detection and prevention of fraud.
If you think that we've failed in our duty and you want to make a claim, complete an Incident Report Form online.
Completing an Incident Report Form
Before you start, please read our leaflet:.
So that we can investigate all claims fully, the online Incident Report Form will ask for the following important information (you might like to make sure you have this handy before you start):
- exactly where the incident took place - please be as specific as possible so that we can identify the road or exact location
- the specific defect that you believe was responsible for the incident - telling us that a road is in 'bad condition' is not sufficient for us to deal with a claim
- the date and time when the incident happened
- photos of the area and defect - please include context of both the defect and the wider area (take a picture that takes the area into account, and provide a sense of scale if possible). These can be attached to the form (maximum total file size is 20MB) or sent later when we have acknowledged the claim
- full details of the damage or injury you (or your property) suffered
If your claim is for property damage, we will need original repair invoices and receipts to support your claim; you are required to keep your losses to a minimum, which means that any repairs should be arranged as soon as possible (rather than waiting until the damage gets worse). These can be sent to us later.
We cannot make a payment to anyone other than the claimant (eg, we cannot pay a repair garage).
What happens next?
When you complete and send us an Incident Report Form, we'll acknowledge it within five working days. If we also send the form to our insurer, they'll acknowledge it within five working days too.
Our insurer will investigate your claim and give you a decision within 90 calendar days from the date they received your form. Our insurer will give you an explanation of that decision.
If there's any information missing from your Incident Report Form, we'll get in touch to ask for it. The 90 calendar day period for a decision will start from when we're satisfied we have all the information we need to investigate.
We won't pay compensation if we can prove that we have made all reasonable steps to complete maintenance (for instance of roads and or pavement). Our safety inspection regime is used as evidence when we defend claims.
All claims are decided on an individual basis, based on the circumstances of the incident. Ultimately, only a court can decide whether we are liable to pay compensation. If we consider that a court would not award compensation, then your claim will be denied.
Challenging a decision
We will not normally look at a claim again just because you do not agree with our decision. If you have further information that has not been considered before, we may look at the claim again.
You have the right to seek independent legal advice at any time in the claims process.
Road Related Incidents: Our responsibilities
We are responsible for maintaining over 1,250 kilometres of public highway within the West Berkshire boundary. This includes roads and pavements.
We have a duty to take "reasonable" steps to make the roads safe for users. The Highways Act 1980 provides us with a statutory defence to a claim if we can show we have taken all reasonable steps to make the road network safe to use.
To meet our duty, we have a safety inspection regime in place, where each road and pavement receives regular, routine inspections by qualified highway inspectors. The frequency of inspection is determined by the classification and use of a road.
As a result of this robust system of inspection, over 95 per cent of claims made are successfully defended and compensation is not paid.