Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Tomorrow I'll be making my first ever compensation claim.

I thought I'd include the image because it made me laugh. I google imaged 'compensation man' and this is what I got. It is contained on the website of 'access2compensation'

Anyway, I'm not physically injured, although I'm quite surprised I'm not. I was cycling along the A3 as normal this morning. I'd stopped, behind a bus at some lights and on turning green, I headed off behind the bus and up the cycle lane, I kept pace with the bus for about 50m and then all of a sudden I hit the mother of all potholes. The bus had gone straight over the top of it and as I wasn't able to see it, I just rode straight through it.

In so doing, both my front and back lights popped out of their housings and both smashed on the cycle lane. Actually, I tell a lie. The back one popped out completely, the front one stayed firm but the front of it literally ripped off and just left the bit of black plastic that constitutes the back of the light. Amazingly I didn't pop a tyre and my wheels remained unbuckled. I'm not sure how, as this thing was about 75 cm across and about 20 cm deep. It baffles me, how something like this can suddenly appear out of nowhere and not be spotted because as far as I remember I don't recall seeing it yesterday or the day before.

After some ringing round, I eventually got through to TFL who are responsible for the maintenance of the 220km of bus lanes in London and lodged the report of the pothole and then asked whether I could claim for my damaged lights. The customer services representative said certainly and put me through to a firm of what I assume are solicitors, that deal with compensation claims of this type. The guy I spoke to said he would send me out some claim forms, do some further investigation and then come back with a response to my request, but he said it sounded fairly straightforward and on that basis, he didn't think it would take very long.

Am I right to complain? To be honest if I hadn't bought the lights just 2 weeks ago I'm not sure I would have bothered, but the set cost me £35 and although it's not a huge amount of money, I think it's worth claiming for, if it's possible. After all there was nothing I could have done to avoid it (cue, lots of people saying, I should have been watching where I was going). Incidentally, I was recounting the tale to a work colleague who cycles the same route as me and he said 'Oh yeah, I saw that this morning and did think someone ought to ring the council and tell them about it' so I feel slightly vindicated and not completely mad.

So whaddya reckon. Am I just fuelling compensation culture, or am I fully justified in making my claim? Answers on a postcard please (or an online comment if you must).


Curmy said...

Six, considering how much money Ken L. makes out of the congestion charges and the fact that they were new lights, I think you've got every right to claim.
You're lucky you weren't injured.
BTW How did your trip to Guildford go ?

Six Years Late said...

Oh it was fine. Although, a little disappointing. We had a good look round the city centre, which was great, had everything we needed and more and all nicely compact, but when we went out and had a look at the areas we would need to be in for the good schools we were a bit disillussioned.

Burpham and merrow are both made up of a lot of 80s built estates which although not really to our taste are not an automatic no, no. The problem with them was that they felt very claustrophobic. Because it's quite up and down round there the house are built on up and down slopes which really contributes to them all feeling on top of each other.

We're going to go back again as we put in our details with a couple of local estate agents and outlined our concerns and they're going to look out for what we want. Obviously with it being the first time we'd been down there we may have missed the nicer parts, so we're not ruling it out yet by any means.

We're going to look at tonbridge and tunbridge wells plus surounding areas in three weeks time so I'll report back again.

Paul said...

You should claim Six and no, you are not fuelling compensation culture.

Somebody has not been doing their job and you could have been seriously injured. Even if you don't get a bean and your report 'only' results in this pothole being filled in you might have helped prevent somebody else having an accident and they might not be so lucky - suppose the bus had been behind you!

Jane said...

Pot holes are the bain of my life! And I hate the fact that they only ever appear in cycling lanes and are mainly caused by buses (the other bain) making deep tracks in the gutter near traffic lights. You should totally claim compensation, and more!

Curmy said...

Six, hope your next trip out house hunting is more productive.

Rupe said...

Six, I fractured my ankle ages ago falling over a raised paving stone.
I took photo's, got my lawyer to deal with it,and eventually I received £3,000. It was quite a slog, but I won.

Also, Highgate West Hill has very high sleeping policemen.. they are lethal..a Ferrari
did a lot of damage to his underside, and it cost Camden an absolute fortune.
Afterwards the council lowered the height of some of them.

Tunbridge Wells is lovely, part of my family have moved there.

ja said...

You're entitled to claim, the council should be mending pot holes so that users of roads are not put at risk. It's what we pay our council tax for.

Les Paul Junior said...

As a council Highways Technician I know quite a bit about potholes.

Yes, we do pay our poll tax to get them fixed but the trouble is that many people, including bent solicitors, are taking the mick nowadays. One trick I've heard that some solicitors use is to photograph a 20p piece next to a "defect", as we call them, and then say in court that it was a 50p piece (so that the defect would look bigger).

Paul's point about someone not doing their job is interesting. Getting money from the government for Highways Maintenance is like getting blood out of a stone and I doubt that you'll find, anywhere in the country, a Maintenance Engineer who thinks current funding is adequate. However, if you want money for "Diversity Awareness" then that's another story altogether!

Good luch with your claim, Six. It is right to pay out for justifiable claims and I hope you get a decent settlement.

Les Paul Junior said...

Erratum :

For "luch" read "luck".

Dinnertime dyslexia strikes again!

The Great Gildersleeve said...

Yes, there are many false claims but your experience sounds both dangerous and valid because of the reason Curmy mentions if nothing else because of the fact that you are...

Using a bicycle which I understood was to be encouraged by Ken and all the money raised by the congestant charges.

Good luck regarding your possible relocation...