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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12193
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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In January 2014 one of our cars suffered damage to a tyre and

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In January 2014 one of our cars suffered damage to a tyre and alloy wheel as a consequence of a large pothole in a road on the outskirts of Aberdeen. In total, the cost of recovering the vehicle, replacing the wheel and the tyre was almost GBP500. A claim was submitted to Aberdeen City Council for the loss incurred. A letter has now been received from Zurich Municipal who are acting on behalf of Aberdeen City Council. In the letter they state that "Our customers duty is to ensure that the roads are maintained in a reasonably safe condition. They do not to ensure that the roads are in a perfect condition all of the time". They go on to state that the site of the accident is subject to regular inspections and that the last inspection was on 8th January (the date of the incident was 28th January). On the morning of the incident there were a further two cars parked nearby awaiting recovery having suffered similar damage caused by the same deep pothole. In fact, when I reported the incident to the City Council by telephone the lady asked the date and time of the incident and, after I gave her that information, she stated that she did not really need to ask where the location was in view of the number of drivers who had suffered damage at approximately the same time. I am now seeking legal advice regarding the response to send to Zurich because I strongly feel that Aberdeen City Council do have responsibility for the incident and their insurer should be accepting the claim.
Thank you for your question.

You are quite right. The insurers letter is a smokescreen in the hope that you will go away. Many people do when they receive such a letter. The correct way to proceed of course is to write back saying that if they don't settle your claim by return you will be taking them to court.

A local authority has a duty to take reasonable care. Where the local authority obviously know about the defect they don't act with reasonable care unless they do something about it. Their inspection programme is always quoted. When you examine this it is often incorrect.

In any event, threaten them and of necessary go to the small claim court at the sheriff court. The council won't defend an action for £500. It would cost them more to do so.

Happy to discuss further.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
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