Driver threatens to sue Hartlepool council over pothole damage

Bill Ryan at the potholed road in Elwick Road, near Ward Jackson Park.
Bill Ryan at the potholed road in Elwick Road, near Ward Jackson Park.

A motorist says he is prepared to take Hartlepool Borough Council to court after the authority refused to pay out for damage he says was caused by a pothole.

William Ryan said his his Ford Fiesta suffered a buckled wheel and £280 damage after he went over the hole in Elwick Road, near Ward Jackson Park, in Hartlepool.

The council says it inspects the road every six months and is not liable for the damage as it was not aware of the pothole beforehand.

But Mr Ryan, 57, says he has been in touch with his solicitors who have advised him to fight the council in the small claims court.

He said: “I actually spotted the pothole but I just couldn’t get away from it because of oncoming cars. It was just like ‘bang’.”

Mr Ryan says the front driver’s side wheel was left buckled and the tyre damaged.

I actually spotted the pothole but I just couldn’t get away from it

Motorist William Ryan

He informed the council of the incident on Monday, September 28, and sought compensation for the £280 damage.

The council said it last inspected the road on March 30 and was not aware of the defect before its next planned check on September 29.

But Mr Ryan said: “I’m still £280 out of pocket. I said I’m prepared to take it to court.”

He added: “That piece of road is well known for potholes. You need a 4x4. Because of the area where it is, with lots of nice cars, I would be surprised if nobody had reported that road.”

Mr Ryan, of Throston, who is currently on sickness benefit, sent pictures of the pothole and chunks of concrete along the road edge to the council.

A council spokesman said: “The council carries out six-monthly inspections of the road, during which any defects are noted and following which any required repairs are promptly carried out.

“Because it has this scheduled programme of checks in place and also was not aware of any defect in the road prior to the incident with Mr Ryan’s vehicle, the council is not liable for the damage to Mr Ryan’s vehicle.”