There are still more than 100,000 recorded potholes in our roads at any one time (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Councils in England forked out more than £8million to settle pothole compensation claims last year.

Research by online car marketplace Heycar found that councils take huge financial hits for failing to fill in potholes that cause injury or damage to road users.

The biggest single claim resulted in a payout of almost a quarter of a million pounds.

Fixing a pothole costs £70 on average, but the sum varies in different parts of the country.

Councils in the north, including Oldham, Rotherham and Kirklees, reported the lowest repair costs (£27), compared to a whopping £232 reported by their southern counterparts.

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A claim in Derbyshire resulted in a payout of £247,000
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Eight of the top ten most expensive councils were found south of the M25 and included London Boroughs of Enfield, Hillingdon and Chelsea.

And despite filling 1.2 million potholes last year – at an average of more than 20,000 every week – there are still more than 100,000 recorded potholes in our roads at any one time.

It means that as council contractors fill the potholes, more are created that add to the workload, sparking huge compensation claims if people are injured and their vehicles damaged.

The biggest claim recorded last year was in Derbyshire when a pedestrian tripped in a pothole and broke their arm, resulting in a payout of £247,000.

Repairing a pothole costs £70 on average
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In St Helens, a cyclist who suffered multiple injuries after coming off their bike because of a pothole in the A49 won almost £200,000 in damages.

In Brent, London, there was a £20,500 payout to a motorcyclist who came off their bike after going over a pothole, while a single incident in Stoke led to a £63,000 compensation claim.

Claims in Derby, Cheshire and Greenwich all paid out over £3,000 each time in damages to cars that have fallen foul of potholes.

Many motorists claim that the nation’s roads have never been in such a poor condition with councils unable to find the necessary cash to fix the problem – a situation made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Some of the individual claims cause the most concern as a single incident caused by a pothole can lead to huge payouts.

However, it is some of the individual claims that cause the most concern where a single incident involving a pothole can lead to a huge payout.

Greenwich Council, in London, paid £4,500 to a motorist who had an accident that was triggered by a pothole on the edge of Greenwich Park.

In Cheshire East, the council paid £3,210 to a driver whose car suffered damage to its tyres and wheels due to a pothole in Knolls Green.

Councils paid out more than £8million over pothole compensation claims
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

North Yorkshire Council paid £1,750 to the owner of a premium car that was damaged when it ran over a pothole near Harrogate.

Dan Powell, Senior Editor at heycar, said: “Potholes are such a familiar sight, and I’m sure everyone will have a top ‘worst road’ in their area that comes to mind when potholes are mentioned – but they’re much more than just an inconvenience.

“They’re causing real damage to people and their vehicles and the rate at which potholes are appearing is too fast for councils to keep up with. So even more claims will be coming, further reducing the funds available for road repairs.

“Driving should be a feelgood experience, especially after the restrictions of the past year. However, poorly maintained roads only lead to concern and frustration. The pothole crisis only appears to be getting worse, and more funds need to be allocated to help councils fill them quicker.”

The RAC has said it attends more than 1,000 breakdowns every month where cars have been forced off the road after hitting a pothole.

In March this year, a study from the Asphalt Industry Alliance estimated it would cost more than £10billion to fill them all in.

The survey of England’s biggest local authorities, from heycar, found the 10 councils which paid out the most to settle compensation claims for damage and injury caused by potholes last year (2019/20) were:

Manchester – £1,165,279

Derbyshire – £500,965

Essex – £472,164

Lincolnshire – £452,843

Surrey – £403,482

Lancashire – £352,621

East Sussex – £329,311

West Sussex – £317,524

St Helens – £225,625

Stoke – £215,826