19/01/2021

England Highways

Damage to Crown Property [DCP] Claim Costs

Information provided by Claims Management & Adjusting Ltd (CMA) to assist Third-Parties (drivers, fleets, hauliers or their insurers) AND Highways England resolve claims following incidents on the Strategic Road Network (SRN) such as collisions, fires and fluid spills. 

It is estimated that there are over 30,000 DCP (damage to Crown property) events every year.  Each provides an opportunity for inadvertent or intentional overstatement of the attendance and/or repair costs.  As worryingly, Highways England generally rubber-stamp every sub-£25,000 claim for payment and are bringing the recovery process in-house, it is unsurprising many charges are incorrect but concerning the Authority is secretive about the records available.  Following years of us presenting evidence of gross exaggeration, the Authority has yet to put its house in order and that the NAO and DfT have stood by silent.

Faced with a demand for payment:

  • Was your driver at fault?  As with most ‘incidents’ or ’emergency events’ on our roads, the starting point is ‘was the driver liable?’ i.e. responsible.  This is seldom as clear as you may think and needs to be considered carefully.
  • Is the charged sum (quantum) reasonable?  With over 10 years of experience behind us, aware of each attendance/repair facet, we have yet to see a correctly priced contractor bill for some companies employed by Highways England or Councils.  More recently, some Authorities are looking to profit from claims.
Collision / Accident
Road Traffic Collision (RTC)  The law defines a road traffic ‘accident’ involving an identified vehicle on a road or in a public area that has caused damage or injury to ‘Crown Property’, a.k.a. ‘Street Furniture’.  Commonly, this is the vehicle restraint system(VRS) in place; a barrier and its supporting posts.
Claims following damage caused to the highways by a vehicle fire
Fires  A correctly maintained vehicle, travelling on the road, is unlikely to burst into flames.  This is the starting point of Highways England; you are guilty until proven innocent.  Fires usually result in a need to re-surface, a repair commonly over £10,000.  But is your driver liable?  To quote one insurer ‘we would like CMAs fire letter’; we questions aspects many would not consider.

Spills  Fuels, oils and hydraulic fluids are liquids that commonly escape from vehicles involved in collisions.  However, on occasions the leakage is unexpected, a standalone event.  Again, it is not uncommon for a driver to be presented the clear-up bill.  Some contractors appear a little too keen to resurface roads rather than cleanse.  A £500 ‘wash’ can quickly become £10,000+.  But should the driver even consider paying?
Bridge / Parapet Strikes  These and other specialist items of ‘street furniture’, if damaged, can take longer to fix; they may require specialist examination or bespoke parts being obtained.  Delays arise.  But are these delays reasonable or an opportunity for the contractor and their agents to profiteer?  Temporary VRS, once installed to protect/reinforce the damaged item will attract a daily hire chare & ‘monitoring’ that could exceed the repair cost! We have raised concerns about this which thus far, have been ignored.

CCTV  if you need (or may need) CCTV footage, do not delay – ask for it immediately.  Highways England, for example, will claim they delete it in 7 days, that storage comes at a cost and there is a data protection requirement.  The information could be retained.  If the incident was seen at a control centre and damage was retained – why has the Authority disposed of the evidence?

News  Various updates about highways and driving-related matters, useful information.  Please see the separate links to Smart Motorway concerns and our concerns Highways England are so complicit in misrepresenting costs as to be compromised; the tail (contractors) wag the dog at the expense of Third Parties and the Public Purse.
u-turns
 U-turns  Examples of the numerous misrepresentations made to Third Parties, the Courts and us on a regular basis by Highways England.  The volt-face conduct once the Authority realises it has said something compromising and seeks to backtrack.  A staggering example of this involves 175 responses/reviews undertaken when asked about DCP rates’; these were HELD … until such time as A Judge said ‘release’ – the subsequent response was ‘NOT held’.
Registered Users
Registered Users  Directories, time-lines and claim related material to assist our clients and associates to consider and resolve these specialist damage to third-party property claims.

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