£1.8 m for a pothole claim

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A BBC investigation has revealed that Somerset County Council paid out more than £1.8m in a single compensation claim involving a pothole, it has emerged.
The compensation was in respect of third party for "general damages" following an accident "involving a pothole defect".

Details released to the Somerset County Gazette under a Freedom of Information request also reveal £2.1m was paid in 31 compensation claims in 2016 to 2017. The council said it was unable to give further details for legal reasons.

Documents also reveal a rise in the total amount of compensation paid out by the authority. It paid about £170,000 to 28 claimants in 2014 to 2015, and almost £900,000 to 33 claimants in the following year. This financial year, however, the authority has had to pay out £2,137,167, with £1.8m of it going to just one person.

Across the county, the Freedom of Information revealed the most common claim for compensation was for potholes, followed by drains and gullies and then "erosion of road".

The lowest compensation pay out was £11.99 for "damage to clothing caused by overgrown brambles that were not maintained".

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said, "data protection legislation" meant it could not give "any further details about individual claims against the local authority".

But he added, to successfully claim compensation claimants would need to prove the council had neglected or breached its "statutory duty". "Often events occur that are unfortunate but not due to any party's negligence," he said.
"As such, there is no automatic entitlement to compensation or any guarantee that making a claim will be successful.

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