Derbyshire County Council (19 019 384)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway repair and maintenance

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 18 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss X’s complaint about pothole damage to her car. It is reasonable to expect Miss X to take court action for the compensation she seeks. The complaint is therefore outside the Ombudsman’s legal remit.

The complaint

  1. Miss X complains her car tyre had to be replaced after it was damaged by a pothole. Miss X wants the Council to compensate her for the damage.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone could take the matter to court. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to go to court. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(c), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered what Miss X said in her complaint and background information the Council sent to me. I have written to Miss X with my draft decision and given her the opportunity to comment.

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What I found

  1. Miss X had to replace a tyre on her car after it was damaged by a pothole. Miss X wants the Council to pay for the repair.

Assessment

  1. The Ombudsman cannot determine if the Council is legally liable for the damage caused to Miss X’s car or if compensation should be paid. Only the courts can do this. There is a low cost procedure open to anyone to make a money claim in the courts.
  2. For these reasons, we consider it is reasonable to expect Miss X to resort to court action for the compensation she seeks and we will not investigate.

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Final decision

  1. My decision is that the Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because it is reasonable to expect Miss X to resort to court action for the compensation she seeks. The complaint is therefore outside the Ombudsman’s legal remit.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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