Court action threat as driver battles to get council to foot the bill for car damage

Bunbury motorist left with a £3,000 repair bill after driving over a pothole

Jonathan Turner is prepared to take the council to court if he isn't reimbursed for damage done to his car by a pothole

A battle to get the council to foot the bill for a £3,000 repair to a car badly damaged by a giant pothole has led the vehicle’s owner to threaten to take the authority to court.

Jonathan Turner, 46, of Bunbury has so far failed in his bid to get Cheshire West and Chester Council to claim responsibility for damage caused by the dramatic incident which happened last December.

Mr Turner was driving along Huxley Lane in Tiverton delivering Christmas cards when the car suddenly stopped with a loud bang, triggering both of the vehicle’s airbags to blow up.

The pothole which damaged Jonathan Turner's car

After fleetingly thinking he had been shot, Mr Turner discovered his BMW had fallen into a deep pothole in the road, resulting in a dented wheel, numerous punctures and damaged suspension.

Mr Turner, who said he also suffered bruising to the side of his body from the impact, was forced to claim on his insurance for the £3,000 cost of repair work.

He reported the pothole  to Cheshire West and  Chester Council  (CWaC) the day after the  incident.

But while the council  temporarily filled in the  hole, which was more  than six inches deep  and at least 2.5ft long  and 18 inches wide, they  did not permanently  rectify it until spring  this year.

Since then, having to  claim thousands of  pounds on insurance  has left Mr Turner almost £700 out of pocket  thanks to increased  premiums and excess  charges, so in August  this year he wrote to  CWaC asking to be reimbursed.

But they claimed they  weren’t liable for the  road as it had been  checked four months  before the incident.

However, Mr Turner  claims the hole had  been reported a number  of times prior to this by  local residents.

“Highways were well  aware of an issue on the  road, having had cameras down various  drains which highlighted a collapsed  drain that ultimately  was causing the road to  be undermined,” he  said.

“I have spoken to local  residents who are continuing to pursue this  as the necessary drainage is still not completed.

“I am just horrified  they’re denying responsibility – that  pothole was the worst  I’ve ever seen on any  road except for ones dug  for specific purposes.

“Although I am  pleased they’ve now  corrected the road, they  can’t reject liability like  this – it is their responsibility.

“It’s now been passed  to their claims handler  who has so far informed  me that they are rejecting the claim because  the road had apparently  been checked out the  previous August.

“But now I am out of  pocket and my insurance has gone up as I  have lost a chunk of my  no claims bonus,” added Jonathan.

“At this time of year  when the roads are  again under attack  from frost, I hope the  council ensures significant surface failures  like this are addressed  immediately to ensure  no major accidents happen.”

“I just think CWaC  need to do these things –  surely lives are more  important than what  the council usually  spend their money on?

“This could have been  much worse. I intend to  take this to court because this hole was  known about by local  residents long before it  was reported.

“Given that CWaC  knew about it, yet did  not resolve it straight  away, as far as I am  concerned, makes them  clearly liable,” he said.

A CWaC spokesperson said: “This is an  ongoing issue and at the  moment it would be inappropriate for us to  comment any further  but we are working to  resolve this matter.

“We would like to add,  however, that this incident happened in the  winter months and elements such as water  and ice can sometimes  cause potholes to expand so it is possible for  small cracks in the road  to dramatically change  as a result of this.”


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