Devon County Council has been left with a bill for millions in compensation after a serious accident was blamed on them failing to repair a pothole.
The crash happened in Limers Cross in November 2006 and has been the subject of a lengthy legal battle. A Land Rover attempted to overtake another vehicle on the road. However, as it was doing this, it went into a pothole at the side, causing it to swerve across the road and into trees on the other side.
The two passengers of the Land Rover both suffered severe injuries in the crash. One of the passengers lost an arm and was paralysed. They received compensation of £3 million with £275,000 annual payments. The other passenger suffered brain injuries and skeletal injuries. They received compensation of £1,250,000.
The compensation settlements were initially paid out by the insurers of the driver of the Land Rover. However, they then argued that the council was liable because they had breached their duty to maintain the road properly.
The Telegraph reports that a hearing at the High Court has ruled that the council is responsible as they could reasonably be expected to be aware of the poor state of the edge of the road and verge, and the danger that this posed to road users. The Judge stated that the accident happened on a straight rural road, where use of the verges came into play.