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Report a highways fault

Report a highways fault

Please report non-dangerous issues with our Highways Reporting Tool. Reports will be assessed within 10 working days. 

How long it takes to fix a fault depends on the type and severity of the issue. Potholes marked with yellow paint will be fixed within 21 days. Potholes marked with white paint will take up to 13 weeks to fix.

To report a highways fault that poses an immediate danger to the public, please read the guidance on reporting a highways emergency

Please do not step out onto a busy highway to measure or photograph the fault you are reporting. Our Local Highways Officers will do this when they investigate your report.

Damage and personal injury claims

If you think defects on the highway have caused:

  • Personal injury
  • Damage to your vehicle

Please read the following section and then fill out the liability claim form.

Information for highway claimants

A guide to responsibility under Highways Legislation and for loss or damage caused by defects on the Highway

The County Council as Highway Authority is responsible for the highway across the County. The Highways Agency, not the County Council, is responsible for the maintenance of trunk roads and motorways.

Please review the information below before making a claim. It explains highway maintenance and related laws. 

As the Highway Authority, the County Council must maintain all highways assigned to it. We must maintain them at a suitable standard for their status and use. This is required by Section 41 of the Highways Act.

The County Council has a system to inspect roads and footways so we can meet our obligations.

Each road and footway is the subject of inspection. The frequency of inspection depends on their classification or status. When a defect or fault is found, any repairs are done within set times. Defects reported by members of the public are treated in the same way.

To be successful, a claimant must prove that the highway section was unsafe due to poor maintenance. A claimant must also show that this was the cause of the incident and that a loss or injury has been sustained.

The County Council has a "special defence" against claims for highway damage or injury. This defence is given by Section 58 of the Highways Act. The council must show it has taken reasonable steps to maintain the highway. The County Council will not have to pay compensation if it can show that it has carried out inspections and repairs as planned and reported.

Please be aware that defects can develop very quickly particularly in the carriageway. The presence of a defect does not necessarily mean the Council is liable. If a claim arises from a defect that is subsequently repaired, this does not imply an acceptance of liability on the part of the Council.

Although unfortunately incidents do occur very few can be attributed the negligence of the County Council. The majority of the claims brought against the County Council are successfully defended.

If you decide to submit a claim after considering the legal principles, there is a set process that applies.

A claimant must supply full details of the incident by completing a Liability Claim Form. This will include:

  • the date and time

  • a description of exactly where the incident occurred

  • photographs of the incident site if available

  • details of damage or injury sustained.

The person making the claim may need to go to a meeting at the accident site. They will be asked to confirm where the accident happened and what happened.

Claims will be handled following the Civil Procedure Rules. These rules govern claims like this.

A letter acknowledging receipt will be sent to the claimant within 21 days. The claim will be investigated thoroughly. We will decide on liability within 90 days of receiving the acknowledgement letter.

The County Council will either accept the claim or produce enough evidence to refute it.

If the incident has occurred as a result of works carried out on the highway by others then your claim may be against them and not the highway authority. This could be a utility company or contractor for example.

This procedure will be followed whether the claim is handled by the County Council, its insurers or their representatives.

Please think carefully before making a claim. It is an offence to make a fraudulent claim for compensation or to exaggerate one.

The County Council has a duty to protect public funds. It may use the information provided for the detection and prevention of fraud. It may also share information with other organisations in charge of managing public funds.

Please return your completed Liability Claim Form together with additional documents (receipts, photographs, expert's reports etc.) via email to:

Alternatively, you can post your form and supporting documents using the address below:

Insurance Services

c/o West Northamptonshire Council

The Guildhall

St Giles Square



Telephone 01604 526276