Many visitors to the Arrive Alive website and the Car Insurance Blog have searched for more information on how to claim for damage to tyres and vehicles as a result of potholes on our roads. These searches are for both the terms pothole and pot hole! Irrespective of whether the spelling should be pothole or pot hole – this is a source of great agitation for many a road user!
Can I claim for damage caused by potholes?
The easy answer is – Yes – You can. There is a responsibility on the side of the authority to maintain roads and repair potholes. It will however also be a matter for the Law of Evidence as well as a matter to establish blame. The question would be whether there was negligence on the part of the roads or municipal authority in not repairing that pothole – thereby removing a clear and present danger to the road user. There are reported cases in our law of significant damages awarded to people injured in accidents caused by these potholes.
Where do I claim for damages from potholes?
This is where this becomes a bit more technical and difficult. We need to ask the question – where did the damage occur?
The best safety net for road users is the one provided by the National Roads Agency – and this applies to the so called “N”roads such as the N1, N2, N3 …N12 etc.
SANRAL contracts with road works companies to maintain these roads, and they have to provide proof that they have an insurance policy in place to cover claims for liability from road users.
Claims for damages from potholes on National Roads are therefore directed to SANRAL and from there to the specific contractor on that stretch of road.
On the Municipal roads- where most of the damage will unfortunately be caused – the road users would have to approach that specific municipal authority or Department of Public Works and enquire from them which documentation to complete, and to whom to submit such a claim. This might unfortunately take more time and is also dependant on the efficiency of that municipal office!
What is needed when submitting a claim for pothole damage?
It is important to remember that there needs to be information available to evaluate the claim. I these times of insurance fraud it is important to prove that the damage was caused by a specific pothole, at a specific place and to a specific vehicle. It is also important to show that there are not 2 claims for the same damage – so you may not claim from both your insurer and the insurer from the road works company.
We have a copy of such a claims document received via fax from a road user who suffered damage as a result of a pothole. Even though this is from damage on the National Road – this will also provide insight to what would be required for other claims.
Information required would include:
- Your ID Document
- Your Drivers License
- The Registration Details of your Vehicle
- 3 Written quotes for repair
- A Declaration signed by the claimant
We would like to suggest that the vehicle owner also provide proof through photos of the pothole and the damage to the tyre and vehicle.
We have made the effort to provide the contents of the claims document for damage from potholes on our National Roads:
Page 1 Cover Letter
Please complete and Return To:
The South African National Roads Agency (LTD):
The Regional Manager
Private Bag X17
OR FAX TO: Dimitri Alben
Tel No: 012-426 6200
Page 2 Information Required
Details Registered Owner of the Vehicle
Name & Surname
Details of Driver at Time of the Incident / If different from the owner
Name & Surname:
Details of Incident
Exact Location: National Road eg N1, N2, N3…..km..
Direction of Travel:
SAPS Information [Only of reported to the SAPS]
SAPS Docket No:
Police Station &Tel:
Contact details /Contact person:
Please attach copies of (1) ID Document (2) Drivers License (3) Registration Certificate of Vehicle together with 3 written quotes for repairs.
I, ……hereby declare that this claim for alleged damage to my vehicle on the date and time described above has not been submitted to my insurers indicated or to any other insurers. If evidence to the contrary is revealed, I will accept that my claim will be declared null and void and that no further claim can be instituted against the South African National Roads Agency. I also declare that all the information supplied herein is true.
Page 3 Comprehensive Description of Incident
[This is a requisite to evaluate your claim]
[Please supply all requested information to expedite the process]