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Norfolk’s £11m bill for compensation claims on roads and footpaths

09:24 13 November 2012

Accidents caused by pot holes and cracks in pavements have led to an £11m plus compensation bill at Norfolk County Council.

Accidents caused by pot holes and cracks in pavements have led to an £11m plus compensation bill at Norfolk County Council.

Archant Norfolk 2010

More than £11m has been awarded in compensation to people who have had accidents on the county’s pavements and roads over the past seven years, a new report has shown.

Between 2005 and 2011, 6,273 such claims, including cars damaged in pot-holes and pedestrians tripping over pavement cracks, were lodged with Norfolk County Council.

Of those claims, 1,720 resulted in payouts, according to a report which will go before members of the county council’s corporate resources overview and scrutiny panel today.

In the report, officers say there was a peak in claims in 2009 and 2010, where there were 1,018 and 1,098 claims, respectively, which was attributed to a “higher than normal highway winter maintenance claims” because of “severe bad weather”.

Officers said: “The average cost of claims is rising again after a peak in 2007. This is attributed to third party legal costs escalating in recent times and also the damages awarded are higher.”

There have been 290 payouts so far in 2011, but some of the cases are outstanding. The report also revealed that 507 claims had been denied in 2011, which council bosses said had meant costs of just under £6.4m had been avoided.

The biggest single compensation pay-out last year was £63,633, plus £60,822 legal costs, to a person who sustained rib fractures after tripping on a crack on a Great Yarmouth pavement in 2007.

The issue has been raised because a county councillor questioned whether the process for dealing with such claims meant some people who justifiably had cases, were not successful.

John Dobson, who represents Dersingham division, said: “There is no allowance for judgment where there may be considered to be a degree of injustice in the process or to take into account other circumstances lying outside the scope of the council’s procedures and rules.”

He suggested a review of the current policy, which led to officers drawing up the report. But officers say discretionary payments would lead to a surge in claims and heap pressure on the insurance team to handle them within the 90-day period.

If they fail to hit that deadline, people would automatically be entitled to compensation, officers say, even if they had no real case.

Have you recently successfully claimed compensation against a local council? Tell us your story by calling EDP reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email


  • You couldn't make it up could you? Whilst it is obvious that Norfolk CC can't maintain what they have now, yet they want to build new roads like the NDR.

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    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Why can't people just watch where they are walking? At the end of the day it is us the council tax payer that pay all these compensation claims.

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    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Am I missing something here or am I being too simplistic. Surely It wouldn't have cost £11m to have employed some people and fixed all these faults in the first place.

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    Johhny Reggae

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • If we have a bad winter I would expect this figure to escalate rapidly over the next few months, especially in and around the Norwich area where some of the main roads are literally falling to bits.

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    John L Norton

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • It's not really surprising. The City centre is a total mess, trip hazards every where thanks to the cowboys that where City Care. City Care came to repair the path outside of our home, after numerous complaints about a 3 inch trip hazard. Sadly they did not repair the problem but put a steep fillet of morter in front of it!!!! I complained to the attending cowboy who said he was only doing as he had been told..Only he was not, as he had been told to "Concrete" it, not butter over the top of it with morter that would crack & fall away within weeks or 6 months at best. My daughter tripped on a protruding brick in St Stephens Street a few weeks ago, this is a newly laid surface & had it been done by competent contractors would be in much better condition than it is now..The answer is not simply getting holes & trip hazards repaired, it's about having jobs done properly once & by competent contractors whose work does not fail within unacceptable time frames due to the way it was done.

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    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • The road builders should be made responsible for all roads and repairs to the road for 30 years after laying the road - that way the council (public money) doesn't have to foot the bill. This practice, in other counties who use this system works well, ensuring quality roads are laid correctly then maintained at no cost to the council (public money).

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    Stop Press

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • In King's Lynn, cars park with 2 wheels on pavements, which do not have the base for such a weight, slabs then sink and cause uneven surfaces. This directly contributes to trip hazards so why allow it? Police did nothing about it, now with parking enforcement down to the council, they do nothing either. Yesterday a photo was taken of 2 police cars parked half on the pavement, the 2 police drivers told me it was not illegal - when I took my driving test, driving on the pavement was not allowed.

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    Honest John

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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