Highways Claim for Damage or Injury
The term highway refers to all roads and pavements which Cornwall Council has the responsibility for maintaining.
There is no automatic right to compensation and all claims are assessed based on laws and guidelines that are in place for assessing such claims, details on these are below.
Making a claim
Before you can access the printable claim form for compensation you must report the highway defect to us using our online reporting system.
Once you have logged the defect you will be provided with a unique reference number. Please enter the number below to access a claim form.
Responsibilities and law
Cornwall Council is the highway authority responsible for the majority of highways within Cornwall and there are duties set out in law that state that the Council has a duty to maintain the highways accordingly.
The Council carries out its Section 41 duties by having in place a Highways Maintenance Manual which sets out all aspects of its road maintenance ranging from the frequency of inspections for each highway through to defect category types and response times for complaints received amongst many other things.
The Council’s wholly owned company Cormac Solutions carries out the Council’s section 41 duties on behalf of the Council. Although the Council instructs Cormac Solutions to carry out these duties it cannot delegate any liability to them therefore all claims for compensation are made against the Council as it is the responsible/accountable highway authority
For a claim for compensation to be successful the person/company wishing to claim compensation will need to prove that the Council, via its wholly owned company, has been negligent in carrying out its Section 41 duties and could therefore be held legally liable for the injury or damage sustained.
Please take some time to read the information below about timescales for assessing claims for compensation.
If you submit a claim Cornwall Council will investigate your claim and the following timescales will be implemented:
- We will aim to acknowledge receipt of your claim form and additional information within 10 working days.
- If information requested as part of the claims process has been omitted from your claim form, please refer to section 10 enclosures checklist, then we will aim to make a request for the missing information within 10 working days.
- When any requested missing information is received we will aim to send an acknowledgement within 10 working days. It is important to note that until all requested information is received by the dealing Senior Risk and Insurance Officer your claim will not be progressed to the assessment stage.
- The Council will aim to get a decision with regards to your claim within 30 working days from the date of acknowledgement.
- If your claim is successful then you will be informed that it has been successful and the Council will aim to make payment to you within 14 working days.
- If your claim is unsuccessful (repudiated) then you can continue the process by following the claims dispute and appeal processes detailed below.
Disputing and appealing the Council’s decision to repudiate (reject) your claim
If your claim is repudiated you can in the first instance dispute the decision made with the dealing officer.
If you wish to dispute the decision made you must provide full details, in writing either by post or email, of why you wish to dispute the decision and include additional information surplus to that provided within your claim form.
If you do not possess any additional information then you can proceed to appeal the dealing officer’s decision with their line manager the Risk & Insurance Section Claims Manager. If you wish to appeal you must send a request, in writing either by post or email, to the dealing officer stating that you wish to appeal the decision made.
Once received the dealing officer will pass your claim to the claims manager and will aim to acknowledge receipt of the appeal within 5 working days providing you with the contact details of the claims manager.
The claims manager will then endeavour to respond to your appeal with a final decision with regards to liability within 14 working days from the date the dealing officer acknowledging receipt of it.
If the claims manager investigates the claim and finds that your claim is to be settled then they will write to you informing you of this and will aim to make payment within 14 working days.
If the claims manager upholds the dealing officer’s decision to repudiate the claim then your final option is to issue proceedings against Cornwall Council in the small claims court. Information on how to follow this process can be found online or at your local magistrate’s court.
Please note that in periods of very bad weather where there are a greater number of claims it may take longer for us to respond to your claim.
Seeking legal advice
You are entitled to seek legal advice.
If you do not have a solicitor, you may wish to contact the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) on 0115 958 0585 to obtain the name of a suitably qualified expert solicitor in your area. Their advice may also be free to you or alternatively, you may wish to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Cornwall Council has a responsibility to ensure that all claims received are legitimate.
The Council and its insurers have an anti-fraud system in place to assist in detecting dishonest or fraudulent claims and taking subsequent appropriate action.
The Authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers and to this end may use the information you have provided in connection with any claim for the prevention and detection of fraud.
For these purposes the Authority may also share the information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds.
Further information can be found on the national fraud initiative pages.