Pothole victim fights for compensation

A SLEAFORD man who claims he was injured when he hit a deep pothole while riding his bicycle is fighting Lincolnshire County Council for compensation for how it has affected his health and career prospects.

William Gilbert, 22, of Juniper Way, had his accident back in July last year while riding his mountain bike along London Road, Sleaford. He swerved to avoid some children but was forced back into the hole by a passing car.

He said: “It was right next to the ‘Welcome to Sleaford’ sign and the pothole was over four inches deep.

“I damaged my shoulder and my thumbs, re-injuring my back after an accident I had four to five years ago which chipped my spine. I had a job lined up with PGL as a trainee outdoor pursuits instructor but I had to miss out on that and joining the Prince’s Trust Back to Work scheme has had to stop too.”

Previously an active, outdoor sportsman, he said the effects of the accident had sent him into depression, requiring medication.

According to records, he said the county council’s inspection teams had checked that stretch of road only days before and found it to be safe.

Having contacted the county highways department to complain, he claimed an officer went out six days after the accident and judged the pothole to be not deep enough to be dangerous - but it turned out to be the wrong pothole. Mr Gilbert had also measured and photographed the correct pothole, shortly after the crash, showing it to be four inches deep.

The council now claims the pothole may have got dramatically worse within days of the last inspection, something disputed as being unlikely by Mr Gilbert’s solicitors.

A county council spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment at this time, as the matter may be subject to legal proceedings. We are still in correspondence with this gentleman’s solicitors.”

Mr Gilbert is currently awaiting medical records.