Making a Claim Against East Sussex Highways

What you need to know before you make a claim

Suffering an injury, or damage to your property, as a result of a trip and fall or a pothole doesn’t necessarily mean that you are entitled to compensation. For a claim to be successful and for compensation to be paid certain criteria must be met.

The Highways Authority is governed by the Highways Act 1980. Section 41 of the Act places a statutory duty on the authority to maintain the highway. Section 58 of the act provides a special defence to any civil action (claim) bought against the authority whereby as long as the authority can show that they have taken all reasonable care to maintain the highway in a condition that is safe for users by carrying out robust inspections then it cannot be held liable.

Therefore, the authority can only be held liable if it can be proven to have been aware of a defect and failed to make it safe within the specified time for the assessment of the defect. Or, alternatively, the authority cannot be held liable for defects it was not aware of.

It is not the duty of the highway authority to keep the Highway completely clear of all defects. You can find out more information on our policies on this page.

The claims process itself can be lengthy due to the investigation that is necessary to determine whether the claim meets the criteria as set out above.

Additionally, as we receive a high number of claims that do not meet the criteria, our claims team spend a lot of time processing claims that are then rejected. This is frustrating for the claimant and generates further delays for claims that may be legitimate and successful.

In order to ensure you have the best chance of a successful claim, please consider your claim in light of the intervention limits or whether the defect has previously been reported.

Making the claim

If you feel you do have a claim please follow the below steps.

Report the problem

We, at East Sussex Highways, carry out regular robust inspections. In times of severe weather, defects can appear or deteriorate very quickly. Therefore you must report the problem to us before you submit your claim. This allows us to instruct the area highway steward to carry out an inspection and to arrange any necessary repairs, before the defect becomes too severe. After reporting the problem you will be provided with a case number to reference in the claim form.

Fill out the claim form

Please complete our online claim form. It is very important that the claim form is completely and correctly filled out as not doing so may result in your claim being delayed.

Hearing back from us

We will aim to formally acknowledge your claim within 21 days. Please allow this time to pass before enquiring about your claim.

You can then expect to receive a written response stating the outcome of your claim within 90 days of the acknowledgement. We do however aim to get back to claimants as soon as we can.

Wherever possible we will try to send you responses by email so please provide an email address on your claim form.


What happens to my claim?


How long will this take?


When will I receive compensation?


Who makes the decision on liability?


What if I don't agree with the decision on liability?


Can I have a paper copy of your claim form?