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Pothole claims anger East Sussex
A council received so many compensation claims for car damage caused by potholes it hired a third-party firm to help with its backlog.
East Sussex County Council's own guidelines say compensation claims should be addressed within 90 days – but an "unusually large" number of claims for pot-hole damage has caused the authority to miss its target.
The council has now enlisted the help of JLT, a third-party claims-handling firm, to help clear the back- log.
But it wouldn't reveal how much it was paying the company, only confirming it commissioned it on a claim- by-claim basis after a "com- petitive quotation process".
The council said it recorded 1,288 individual claims between April 2012 and March 2013, most of which were recorded in the "last few months" of the financial year following bad weather.
From April to August this year the council has recorded 769 claims, the majority of which were recorded in the "first few months" of that period.
Rosemarie Cole, 50, of Kingsmead in Seaford, said she's been waiting four months to reclaim £200 she spent fixing her car after hit- ting potholes on the A259 near Newhaven.
She said: "They said it would take 90 days to deal with the claim and have now simply outsourced the issue to a third-party claims company, telling me it will take up to another month before I get a response on whether or not they even intend to agree to meet my claim.
"I'm disgusted. Not only have I had to wait all this time and fork out hundreds of pounds to get my car sorted, there wasn't even a forewarning my details would be passed on."
West Sussex County Council said all its compensation claims were dealt with by its legal department.
A Brighton and Hove Council spokesperson said: "Brighton and Hove usually deals with these claims in- house, although occasionally they may be dealt with by existing external claims handlers.
"We have not experienced an increase in claims."
An East Sussex County Council spokesman apologised to Ms Cole for the length of time it has taken to deal with her claim.
He added: "JLT is an external claims handling firm which we have been using for several years to provide us with extra additional resources during periods when we are dealing with very large numbers of claims, to help us deal with them as promptly as possible."