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Insurance claims

Make a claim - please read this before making your claim

Before making a claim against the Council or Solihull Community Housing Ltd please take note of the information contained below to ensure you are fully aware of the process, the information required and how your claim will be managed.

  • It’s our duty to protect public funds but we aim to ensure your claim is dealt with consistently and fairly.
  • If you are making a claim as a result of a highway defect, the Highways Act 1980 may provide a justification as to why we may not settle your claim; as long we can prove that we took all reasonable steps to avoid the defect from appearing and have a system of inspection in place at the time.
  • Any injury or damage as a result of an incident does not give you an automatic right to compensation.

For Highway or footway defects claims

Most highways and footways in Solihull Borough are the Council’s responsibility. We have a statutory duty under the Highways Act 1980 to carry out routine safety inspections at varying frequencies to identify any highway or footway in need of repair. More information about how we manage the highway is available in our Highways Maintenance Information Pages.

Some highways (or parts of highways) are the responsibility of other organisations such as Highways England; we are not responsible for the motorway and some motorway junctions, please contact Highways England if you have had an incident in these areas.

Some roads may also belong to private individuals or organisations and you should check our latest list of roads to establish whether that road is privately owned or adopted by the Council.

Alternatively highway or footway issues may have been caused by:

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

The Council cannot deal with claims on behalf of other organisations or individuals even if they are on our Highway. Where possible we may either forward your claim, or provide contact details for the relevant party but it is not the Council’s responsibility to act on your behalf in pursuing the other organisation.

Proof of negligence or breach of statutory duty

To make a successful claim you will need to prove that we have been negligent or failed in a statutory duty.

For a Highway claim you will need to provide evidence that, at the time of the incident:

  • a defect existed on a highway or footway 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 under the Highways Act 1980. If the Council has fulfilled its statutory duty it is likely that your claim will be declined. Consideration or investigation of a claim does not mean that a claim will be successful or a payment made.

Report a highway or footway defect

Before you make a claim you must report the defect using our Report a Pothole tool. You will be given a reference number for your report and this must be provided as part of your claim on this form.

For Housing or Tenant claims

If you are a tenant of a property owned by the Council or Solihull Community Housing Ltd you can make a claim for property damage or personal injury using this form.

As a Landlord we have a duty under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act to ensure the structure, baths, basins, sinks and toilets, water, gas and electrical wiring, boilers, radiators and fitted gas or electric fires or heaters are maintained.

Before you report your claim you must ensure that the defect or problem is reported to Solihull Community Housing.

You will be given a reference number for your report and this must be provided as part of your claim on this form. Occasionally some claims are not the responsibility of the Council or Solihull Community Housing as they may have been caused by;

  • private individuals (such as other tenants)
  • contractors working on our behalf
  • utility companies

Where possible we may either forward your claim, or provide contact details for the contractor or utility company, but it is not the Council’s responsibility to act on your behalf in pursuing the other organisation or individual.

Proof of negligence or breach of statutory duty

To make a successful claim you will need to prove that we have been negligent or failed in our statutory duties as landlord.

For a claim to be considered you will need to provide evidence that, at the time of the incident:

  • a defect existed in a property owned or managed by us
  • the defect is one that we knew about or ought to have known about or could have reasonably have been expected to have prevented
  • the defect was the direct cause of the incident or injury, and that you have suffered a loss

Consideration or investigation of a claim does not mean that a claim will be successful or a payment made.

Repairing property damage

If you are making 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 at your own expense.

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

If we agree to pay your claim we may make a deduction for wear and tear of consumable parts.

What happens after your claim is reported?

All claims are decided on an individual basis. Once we have accepted your claim it will be investigated by our appointed claims handlers directly. You will receive an acknowledgement from the Council at this stage.

The Council’s claims handlers will;

  • consider the information that you have provided
  • consider any reports or surveys that have been made regarding the allegation
  • review our inspection and maintenance records of the area (if applicable)
  • review any risk assessments or other such information (if applicable)
  • review any additional information that we may feel is relevant or that you have provided

This information will be used to determine whether the defect or incident was as a direct result of any negligence or breach of statutory duty on behalf of the Council or Solihull Community Housing Ltd.

Following the investigation you will be notified by our claims handlers what decision has been made about your claim and, if your claim has been declined and the reasons why.

Appointing a representative

You have the right to seek independent professional or legal advice at any stage of your claim at your own expense. However, we deal with all compensation claims equally 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 provided that we have been given your authority to do so.

If you are acting on behalf of another adult, we will require a signed written authority from the claimant, confirming they are happy for us to correspond with you.

How will we use your information?

The information you provide us with will be held by Solihull Council Insurance Services and shared with our claims assessors Gallagher Bassett or our insurers. They will use this information to assess your claim and may contact you for further information or clarification to help them with their assessment of the eligibility of your claim.

We may also need to share your information for the prevention and detection of fraud and/or other crimes or as the law requires. For further information about how we use your information please refer to the Council’s Privacy Statement or contact insurance@solihull.gov.uk.

Freedom of Information and Environmental Information requests - Highway Defects

If someone is claiming for damage allegedly caused by a pothole in the road we sometimes receive requests that ask for copies of Highway Inspection reports for the last 6 months or more including dates of inspection and other details for the carriageway in question.

Please note that under the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations, this information may be supplied however in a redacted form which may not assist your claim as dates and other information which you believe may assist your claim will be redacted in line with Decision Notices FS50594366, FER0611819, FS50594366 and FER0742277. For further information please visit www.ico.org.uk.

How long will it take?

The time it takes to complete a case depends on the type and complexity of the claim but we aim to deal with property damage claims within twelve weeks but it is often sooner.

If you are unhappy with our decision about your claim

If you disagree with the decision we have made about your claim you may present further or new evidence for consideration if you feel it is relevant to whether the Council or Solihull Community Housing Ltd is negligent or in breach of duty.

Decisions about the claim outcome is not able to be challenged through the Council’s corporate complaints process. Only a court can ultimately decide whether or not your claim will be successful and we would advise you to seek independent legal advice before determining whether this is a matter you wish to pursue in Court.

Personal Injury claims for accidents occurring from 31 July 2013 should 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 by your legal representatives.

Please ensure that all low value injury claims against the Council or Solihull Community Housing Ltd are submitted through the portal by entering our portal ID: D00019 for claims after 1st April 2016.

For claims between 31st July 2013 and 31st March 2016 please use portal ID: C00108.

You must ensure the correct defendant details are entered either as:

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Insurance Services
Council House
Manor Square
Solihull
B91 3QB

or

Solihull Community Housing Ltd
Endeavour House
Meriden Drive
Solihull
B37 6BX

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