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Title: Can I claim for muddy road?

Date: 08 November 2013

Q

I was travelling home after work last week on a minor country road. Next thing I knew I was skidded off the road as I came around a corner. I had to let go of the bike. I was only bruised and a little battered but nothing serious at all. There was mud and stones all over the road and I think it must have been that which caused me to lose control.

It looked to me, from the verge, that a vehicle had scraped along the bank causing the mud to come down the bank onto the road. There are no width restrictions on the road which may be there should have been. I suppose if I had been going a little bit more slowly I could have braked but it was just around a corner. I am really trying to see if there is anything I can do in terms of compensation as my Bandit will cost a few hundred pounds to repair.

Archie Waterworth

A

I do not hold up much hope of a successful claim against the highway author for the lack of width restriction signs. Many country lanes are narrow and one is expected to drive slowly expecting vehicles coming the other way. Neither do I think the highway authority or local council could be held liable for your accident. It sounds like this bank degradation following a collision was fairly recent (otherwise one would expect rain to have washed away the striations on the bank and the mud on the road itself; also other vehicles to dissipate the debris somewhat. As such the highway authority would no doubt argue lack of prior knowledge and on such a minor country lane the frequency of required inspection for defects would be low.

I think without photographic evidence of the bank i.e. that the mud on the road had resulted from a collision between the bank and an unknown vehicle, you are going to struggle with a compensation claim. With photographic evidence you may persuade the good old Motor Insurers’ Bureau to accept liability on behalf of the untraced driver but they will not compensate you because they will not pay property damage only claims! I think this is therefore one for your own insurer and experience sadly.

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