Collisions & Claims

If, when driving, you collide with ‘street furniture’ (such as a barrier), you will likely be presented the bill for the repair. In some areas, if the repair is over £10,000, the Public Authority (PA) such as Highway England, is sent the bill, pays their contractor then seeks payment from you.  If the bill is below £10,000 the contractor is not paid by the PA but pursues you, your insurer or your company (if a fleet vehicle) for the money. 

The same staff attend the incidents, the same vehicles and same materials are used in the repair, so why, are drivers fleets and insurers charged more than the PA for staff, plant and materials? It appears drivers, fleets and insurers are subsidizing road maintenance; that Public Authorities are aware of this and permit it. For examples, registered users click here

Driving on England’s Highways (roads) should involve getting from ‘A’ to ‘B’ safely, economically & promptly.  However, the hazards facing a driver have increased.  If involved in a collision, fire or spillage resulting in damage to the carriageway, barriers or similar, drivers are increasingly ‘thrown to the wolves’; left to the mercy of some contractors. 

“It appears Highways England has failed in its duty to monitor their contractors” – P. Swift of Claims Management & Adjusting Ltd 

In 09/2015, Highways England advised with regard to their contractors “They can do what they like with their own claims, that’s absolutely nothing to do with us”Similar quotes can be found at: ‘Highways England Do Not Care‘, with Highways England acknowledging that they can also have difficulty obtaining information from their own contractors. In 11/2015 we asked pertinent questions of Highways England and a contractor’s extremely crude approach which we believed may be unlawful.  The letter is here, to date we have received no response. 

You may find yourself presented with a sizeable bill to repair damage or simply because someone swept up the resultant debris – in all likelihood, the charge will be excessive, exaggerated.  In 2013 we saw £125 ( invoice here) for attendance, but 2014 this had increased to over £2700 (AIW & Vehicle) with one contractor. 

Claims & Costs – unsubstantiated charges, profiteering methodologies.  Charges can quickly increase if unchecked … take emergency attendance operatives £125 to £1500 then £2700, in 18 months – click here.

Hazards – debris / litter, distracted driving, tyres, animals 

Concerns  CCTV, re-surfacing & erroneous information emanating from Councils, TfL, Highways England their contractors and agents

 Information – obstruction & contradiction – Highways England’s default position appears to be ‘to withhold information rather than freely making it available for public scrutiny’ – source 04/02/2016 W. Mids Police & Crime Commissioner 11-SPCB-07-June-16-M6-Inquiry

Secure pages – Resources for registered users

Some contractor bills have dramatically increased over the years, but is this surprising when, for example, the head of Kier Highways Ltd’s DCP (Damage to Crown Property) team advised:

“We have, I think, a traceability percentage of something like 47% which then means that 50% of those end up having to go at our cost. So when you’re in a world where budgets are getting cut all the time and, you know, at the moment the biggest I’ve ever known them to be cut ever, then… We are actually making as a business 450 people redundant, and that is because we can’t reconcile the revenue and the costs to our business.”

14/07/2017 – Highways England investigates ‘false’ claims allegations: (click here for report). On 26/06/2017, The Earl of Lytton spoke in the House of Lords:

“Like other noble Lords, I suggest that there are many areas in which public administration and corporate social responsibility must improve. Regulators often appear ineffective, even toothless, and ethical tests seem to be missing from their toolbox …
… but Highways England’s own contractors are apparently not averse to submitting inflated “green claims”, as they are known, for highway infrastructure damage caused during motor accidents. These increase insurance costs, too, and appear to be outwith the contractual arrangements with Highways England, and yet nothing seems to be done about them.”

The speech can be read in full by clicking here – 10:57pm column 274.

Following an incident, a driver, fleet or insurer receives a demand for payment from the repairing contractor:

  • Should you pay for the restoration?
  • Should you pay in full?
  • Are you, or your insurer, being overcharged?

Is the maintenance of our highways being subsidised by drivers, fleet operators (who have a large deductible / excess) and / or their insurers?

There existed a concern this was the case in 2012 and it appears some (if not all) contractors are now less accountable to Highways England (previously The Highways Agency) and in turn, charges may be subject to less scrutiny.

  • To report an incident you have been involved in, whether on a motorway or lesser Highway, please click here.
  • If you have witnessed an incident and wish to report what you saw, please click here


  1. i have still nto received the information i requested

    Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 4:47 PM
    From: PD_HAIL
    Subject: Highways England response – Third Party Claims queries

    Dear Ishrat

    Thank you for your email of 3 October regarding third party claims costs.

    Having liaised with the relevant team, they’ve answered as follows:

    What is the actual Third Party Claims Defined Cost for repair or replacement work already done and how are they calculated?

    The actual defined cost for incident response and repair work resulting from damage by third parties is calculated after the event depending on the work that needs doing. This is calculated in accordance with the defined cost definition in the attached, which references the schedule of costs components also defined in the attached, which specifies specific costs the contractor is allowed to include and the cost of them.

    What is the forecast Third Party Claims Defined Cost for repair or replacement work not yet done and how are they calculated?

    Forecast defined cost for repair or replacement work not yet done is usually calculated by looking at historical information about incident statistics and the resulting cost from those incidents – giving a good indication of the likely frequency, nature, size and cost of future accidents within a contractual area.

    What is the resulting Third Party Claims Overhead and how are they calculated?

    The third party claims overhead percentage is calculated by:

    1) forecasting the defined cost for repair and replacement work to be done during the life of the contract. This will be done as above, and will include the cost of the repair of the damage, including supervision and management of the works, traffic management during the repair, and the initial incident response including clear up and making the area safe.

    2) identifying various forecast costs associated with the repair of damage from third parties that cannot be directly recovered as part of defined cost (they cannot be recovered through defined cost because they are not listed as elements in the schedule of cost components). These are typically items that need to be done, but cannot easily be attributed to a single incident. This could include the cost of planning the whole incident response and repair operation across the area, the cost of depot space for storing needed materials for replacement such as barriers, additional finance charges incurred because the contractor must finance the cost of the repair between incurring the costs and recovering the costs from third parties, and an allow for fixed overheads (which are detailed more in the attached, but a proportional amount of the fixed overheads is added based on the value of damage repair from third parties compared with the cost of other duties in the contract).

    3) The total of 2) is then divided by the total of 1) to produce the third party claim overhead %. A spreadsheet is attached which performs this calculation. This percentage is then added to the defined cost plus fee of dealing with the incident and resulting repair to produce an upper limit on what can be claimed from third parties and their insurers.

    Your final question How do the claims costs and overheads differ by contractor, date and area in the United Kingdom is not one Procurement can answer. I have asked the relevant team to let you have a reply in regards this.

    If there is anything else we can help you with please email or telephone our contact centre.



    Khizar Hussain
    Highways England | Lateral | 8 City Walk | Leeds | LS11 9AT
    Tel: +44 (0) 300 4702459 | Mobile: + 44 (0) 7703 381478
    GTN: 0300 470 2459


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *