Make a claim

On this page you will find all the information you need to guide you through submitting a claim. Please be assured that while Essex County Council has a right to protect public funds, we will carefully consider each claim made to ensure the fairest outcome.

Proof of negligence

To make a successful claim you will need to prove that we have been negligent, and failed in our duty to maintain public roads and pavements to an appropriate standard.

The Highway Maintenance Policy and General Principles and Highway Maintenance and Inspection Strategies sets out Essex County Council’s approach to providing the highways maintenance service in accordance with statutory duties.

You will need to provide evidence that, at the time of the incident:

  • a defect existed on a road or pavement maintained by us
  • the defect is one that would be considered to be dangerous
  • the defect was the direct cause of the incident or injury, and that you have suffered a loss 

If the above can be proven, we will then need to consider if the existence of the defect was as a result of our failure to adhere to our statutory duties. A consideration does not mean that a claim will be successful or a payment made.

Other organisations responsible for road or pavement defects

Most roads and pavements in Essex are our responsibility. We have a statutory duty under the Highways Act 1980 to carry out routine safety inspections at varying frequencies to identify any road or pavement in need of repair. More information about our inspections is available in the Highway Maintenance Policy and General Principles and Highway Maintenance and Inspection Strategies.

Some roads (or parts of roads) are the responsibility of other organisations such as National Highways, or your local borough, city or district council.

Southend-on-Sea City Council and Thurrock Council are responsible for the roads and pavements within their borough boundaries. You should contact them directly.

Alternatively road or pavement issues may have been caused by:

  • contractors working on our behalf
  • utility companies
  • private individuals

We can’t deal with claims on behalf of other organisations or individuals, but we will either forward your claim, or provide contact details for the relevant party where possible.

Public funds

Before you submit your claim, please be aware:

  • It’s our duty to protect public funds and the Highways Act 1980 gives us a statutory defence against claims, as long we can prove that we took all reasonable steps to avoid the defect from appearing
  • An injury or damage as a result of an incident doesn’t give an automatic right to compensation

Report a road or pavement problem

Before you make a claim you must report the defect using Tell us online

You will be sent an enquiry number for your report and this will need to be provided as part of your claim.

Appointing a representative

You have the right to seek independent professional or legal advice at any stage of your claim. However, we deal with all compensation claims in the same way and instructing a solicitor or legal representative will not progress your claim any quicker.

If you choose to appoint a third party to act on your behalf, we will correspond with them directly.

If you are acting on behalf of another adult, we will require a signed written statement from the claimant, confirming they are happy for you to do so.

Fraud prevention

We check all claims to prevent fraud, and your details may be shared with other organisations to carry out further checks.

Repairing property damage

If you’ve made a claim for property damage you must keep your losses to a minimum and arrange for any repairs to be completed as soon as possible.

You must keep copies of all estimates and invoices for repair work as these will be needed if your claim is successful.

Making a claim

You must have reported the road or pavement defect to us before you submit a claim.

Make an insurance claim online

What happens next?

All claims are decided on an individual basis.

Your claim will be investigated by Essex County Council directly. We will:

  • consider the information that you’ve provided
  • any reports that have been made regarding the defect
  • our inspection and maintenance records of the area

This information will be used to determine whether the defect or incident was as a direct result of any negligence by, or on behalf of Essex County Council.

Ultimately, only a court can decide whether or not the defect is dangerous, and whether Essex County Council has been negligent.

If we believe that your claim would not be successful in court, then your claim will be rejected and you will be informed of our reasons in writing.

How long will it take?

The time it takes to complete a case depends on the type and complexity of the claim.

Once your claim has been allocated to a file handler, we will write to you and confirm the maximum time in which you can expect to receive your decision.

Appealing a decision

Only a court can decide whether or not the defect is dangerous, and whether Essex County Council has been negligent. It is for this reason that any queries or challenges to the liability decision must be made in writing and sent to:

Insurance Claims
Essex County Council
County Hall

Or by email to

Upon receipt of your appeal, your claim will be reviewed and we will confirm the outcome of your review in writing.

Claims by third party solicitors and other legal professionals

Personal Injury claims for accidents occurring from 31 July 2013 must be submitted using the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury (Employers’ Liability and Public Liability) Claims.

Please ensure that all claims against Essex County Council are submitted to us directly. We are a registered compensator on the Portal and can be found by searching ‘Essex County Council’ within the compensator details, or by entering our Portal ID: G00441.

For Highways Personal Liability claims, the defendant details must be entered as follows:

Essex County Council
County Hall
Market Road