How to claim compensation due to a road or street problem

If your property or vehicle has been damaged, or you’ve suffered a personal injury, due to a problem with a road or street and you believe that the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is responsible, you can make a claim for compensation.

Reporting a problem with a road or street

If you have not yet reported the problem that caused the property damage, vehicle damage, or personal injury, do this by choosing one of the pages in the following section:

Keep a note of the 'W' reference number you're given after reporting it, as you will be asked for this when completing a claim form.

Claiming compensation online

You can fill out an application for compensation online on this page:

Claiming online makes sure that you give the key information needed to investigate your claim. This may reduce the time taken to arrive at a decision on your case.

Claiming compensation by post

If you prefer, you can fill out a paper form and post it to the DfI Roads Claims Unit.

You can find the forms at these links:

Alternatively, you may ask for a claim form by email, by phone, in writing, or in person at either of the DfI Roads Claims Unit offices in Belfast or Derry.

You must sign the paper claim form and attach any relevant documents to it before returning it. All forms should be returned to the main office in Belfast.

Providing clear dated photographs (including close-up shots of the defect, that is the problem on the road/street that caused the damage/injury) and the defect at a distance and in the context of the surrounding area) and/ or photographs of the damaged property may speed up the processing of your claim.

Getting compensation

Compensation is not automatically guaranteed. The Department for Infrastructure must thoroughly investigate every claim to see if it has a defence to the allegations made.

When its investigations are complete, you will be told of its decision in writing.

Property and vehicle damage

If the decision is taken to pay compensation, the amount offered will be the amount estimated to return your property or vehicle to the condition it was in immediately before the damage.

There is no legal entitlement to provide 'new for old', therefore the amount of compensation paid may be less than the amount claimed.

Personal injury only

If the Department for Infrastructure makes an offer of compensation for an injury to a minor, the matter will be referred to a judge to assess if the compensation is fair.

Any compensation paid will be held by the court until the minor reaches the age of 18.

Timescales for claim decisions

The average timescale for a decision to be taken on vehicle damage claims is four months, and for personal injury claims six months.

For internal flooding of living accommodation, the target is six weeks.

The average timescale for a decision on all other property damage claims is six months.

To investigate your claim thoroughly, DfI Roads Claims Unit may have to check the following:

  • highway inspection and repair records
  • other records held by the Department for Infrastructure (for example, public complaints)
  • whether a contractor or other organisation is involved

Once your claim has been thoroughly investigated, a decision is taken to either pay compensation, reject it, or refer it to another party.

Why another party might be involved

From investigations, it may be established that a contractor, utility company, or another person or organisation caused the defect in question. In those circumstances details will be passed to that person or organisation to investigate your claim further.

Meeting at the accident site

Personal injury and vehicle damage only

Providing clear, dated photographs with your claim form showing:

  • close-up shots of the defect (that is the problem on the road/street that caused the damage/ injury) and
  • the defect at a distance and in the context of the surrounding area

may help the Department for Infrastructure to identify the exact location, and, therefore a meeting on site may not be necessary.

If the Department for Infrastructure can't identity the exact location from the photographs, a meeting will be arranged with a member of its staff so that you can show the exact location.

Property damage and vehicle damage

During its investigation, it may be necessary for a Department for Infrastructure staff member to find the cause of and inspect the damage to your property or vehicle.

In some cases the Department for Infrastructure may use the services of a loss adjuster to inspect the damage to your property or vehicle and to advise on the financial aspects of a claim.

Such visits form part of the Department for Infrastructure investigations and do not mean that it is accepting liability.

If you have already carried out the repairs, keep evidence of the damage by either keeping the damaged item(s), where possible, or providing photographs of the damage.

If a claim relates to the sewerage and water 

Northern Ireland Water Ltd is responsible for supplying water and sewerage services, and the company has its own claims handling procedures.

If your claim is as a result of flooding or any other actions or operations taken by or on behalf of Northern Ireland Water, you should contact Waterline to ask for a claim form.

Further information may be found at the page below:

Making a complaint about how a claim was handled

If you wish to complain about any aspect of how a claim was handled, you can find out what to do on the Complaining about how a claim was handled page.

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