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More than 1,500 successful claims taken against DRD over potholes

Unrepaired potholes have resulted in more than 1,500 motorists taking successful claims against the Department for Regional Development since 2012. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
John Monaghan

THERE have been more than 1,500 successful claims taken for damage to vehicles caused by potholes in the past three years.

It means that two out of every three claims lodged against the Department for Regional Development's (DRD) Road Service for compensation since 2012 has resulted in a payout.

The number of claims settled has almost halved since 2013/14, when there were 737 payouts directly linked to damage caused by potholes.

The figures, which showed there were 2,461 claims received and 1,643 settled in the three year period from 2012, were released in response to an Assembly question from Ulster Unionist West Tyrone MLA Ross Hussey.

In response to a separate question by SDLP South Belfast MLA Fearghal McKinney, the DRD said it had repaired almost 60,000 carriageway surface defects, including potholes, across the north in the last 12 months.

In September last year the department said 18,600 defects had yet to be repaired.

The DRD has also confirmed that it spent just over £355,000 on road maintenance in the past three years.

Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen said: "My Department thoroughly investigates every claim for compensation that it receives to establish whether or not it has a defence to the allegations.

She added: "Claims received by my department in a financial year are not always concluded in the same financial year. This is because, inter alia, claims which are rejected may result in legal proceedings being issued."

In 2013 The Irish News reported that almost £4 million in compensation claims had been paid out by the Roads Service to motorists and pedestrians in four years, including substantial payouts for tripping on kerbstones, tree roots and even grass.

One claimant received a £135,000 payout after being injured on a flagged pavement, while two others received £50,000 each after being injured on potholes.

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