Q&A Can highways authority be held liable for accident caused by faded road markings?

Q:      My father was driving home after a holiday when he had an accident. The road he was travelling along had a sharp bend, which then led straight onto a junction.

My father crossed over the junction, mistakenly thinking it was the main road, and crashed into another car. The road markings were so faded that they were not visible and the ‘give way’ sign was completely obstructed by an overgrown hedge. My father has broken his leg. The other vehicle’s insurers held my father to blame, which seems unfair. Can he pursue a claim against the local authority for not maintaining the road?

A:       We all rely on road markings and hazard signs to guide us on the roads, particularly when we are driving in unfamiliar areas. Where road markings and signs are not clear, this presents an obvious risk of danger to road users, and to pedestrians.

Under The Road Traffic Act 1988, roads must be reasonably safe for users. In most cases, it is the responsibility of the local highway authority to ensure that public roads are maintained to a proper standard. The authority must also have in place a proper system of inspection and maintenance.

Here, the highway authority would come under scrutiny regarding their inspection of the area, and their maintenance of road markings and signage. Their inspection and maintenance records would need to be obtained and carefully considered. It would also be helpful if photographs could be obtained of the relevant area, including the hidden sign, if it is safe for you to do so.

These types of claims are not straightforward, so it is imperative that you seek the help of a local solicitor with experience in this type of claim.

This question has been answered by Claire Parfitt, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry