“I get 1,500 euros”: Samuel, exhausted from potholes, wonders who should pay for the damage caused to his car.


The inhabitants of Bouillon and the surrounding area are exhausted and the roads in the area are in poor condition. They are full of potholes. Therefore, it is difficult to avoid them. But who has to compensate the driver if the vehicle is damaged? Does insurance work? And the area? explanation.

“I took Nest pOr the road n89 towards Bouillon.. The The car is brokenWhen The area does not want to pay.Is it normal ?? “, Samuel is orange[アラート]Ask a question using the button. Samuel lives in Bouillon, a small village in the province of Luxembourg. And every year he makes the same observation: a surge in potholes on the road near his house. “”Truck traffic is heavy day and night, and potholes frequently occur. It’s replenished every year, but I’m always back. ” He is indignant.

Pothole near Samuel

Samuel took n89 last Friday when he was in the commercial area of ​​Bouillon. This is where the incident happened: “I left home to go shopping, I had to overtake the heavyweight division, and while overtaking, I hit a pothole. “, He explains to us.result : “The rim is bent, the steering ball joint and steering triangle are damaged and will be replaced.”

In total, Samuel will suffer a loss of approximately € 1,500. And this is not the first time he has faced such a situation near his home.It has to stop, it’s not the first time I’ve been damaged. We are very disappointed with the road conditions in this area and have a lot of dissatisfaction. They were abandoned! ”


But who should pay for the damage caused by the pothole? Are you a driver? About insurance? Or to the road administrator?

Indemnity depends on the insurance the driver has

For more clarity, I contacted a spokesperson for Assuralia, the Belgian insurance federation. Nevert Degirmenci explains that compensation depends on the insurance the driver has. “”Omnium insurance is the only insurance that intervenes for serious damage to a vehicle., She says. If you do not have Omnium insurance,Only the driver is responsible for the cost of repairing the car. ” No insurance intervention.

Samuel does not have Omnium insurance, but does have so-called “legal protection” insurance. What can he expect?

There is another possibility, according to an Assuralia spokesman. Samuel can submit a file for which he wishes to obtain compensation to the road administrator. A long procedure that takes 6 months to 1 year. However, thanks to legal insurance, Samuel can rely on a lawyer or the help of a lawyer to carry out the procedure and perhaps get compensation more quickly, explains Nebert Deguilmenth.

“To find a road administrator, you need to know where the incident happened. You need to contact a public agency in your municipality, state, or region. Identify this administrator to introduce the file and associate it. I would like to get compensation to repair the vehicle “, Specifies an Assuralia spokesperson.

Two tools are available to help users quickly see who manages which road. Sarah Pierre, a spokesman for the Walloon Public Service (SPW), explains in detail:

  • The toll-free number 1718 always informs the driver about the road administrator.
  • Or a WalOnMap application that lists all roads that are part of the regional road network and are therefore managed by SPW (see also this website).

If insurance does not cover the accident, the area may be held liable: can Samuel wish to be compensated?

What about Samuel, who manages n 89? Who should he file a proceeding against? Region, state, or municipality? How can he prove the mistake of the road administrator?

“The first question to ask is,’Who’s the fault?’ In this case, because it’s a local road, it’s to prove the fault of the area where you have an obligation to maintain the road.” Renaud Vanbergen, a lawyer specializing in insurance and road traffic law for over a decade, explains.

According to professional lawyers, there is another way to prove that there is a problem in Wallonia.This time it’s not a matter of negligence, but it’s called parental responsibility.As soon as you become a guardian of something, this is the case for areas of local roads and you are obliged to compensate everyone who has suffered since this. (Editor’s note, road, in this case n 89), Defective, that is, anomalous properties (Caution, hole here) It may harm others. “

“Sometimes it’s an element that has fallen onto the road, but especially if it’s a pothole, which is a completely unusual element. There are no holes on a normal road! If it damages a person who rolls, the area is It must be able to fulfill its responsibilities and be compensated, which is very clearly established by Belgian jurisprudence. ” He insists.

If all these factors are reported and proven, Samuel “You can get compensation from the area.” But how should he tackle it? The most complicated is the proof, explains Renault Wanbergen. “”You don’t have to be in the right position to win a proceeding. You must be able to prove it. It’s not always easy. “ He warns.

What should be considered in the event of an accident to successfully prove the responsibility of the area or road administrator?

How should Samuel prove the responsibility of the Walloon region? What should I do first in the event of a road breakdown accident? Renault Van Bergen enlightens us: “In the event of an accident, you will need to call the police to check for damage. But don’t forget to pay attention to the kilometer markers to know exactly where the accident happened. Then you can go back to the scene and see if there is actually a hole in it. In general, the declaration should be made to the insurance company as soon as possible. This is because if this declaration is made as soon as possible, it can have proof effect. He will explain the details.

But you also need “Collect as many photos and invoices as possible and attach a quote or repair invoice”, Add an Assuralia spokesperson.

This has been confirmed by SPW spokesman Sarah Pierre. According to her “EIn the case of damage related to road problems, people have to follow steps that can lead to compensation, but this is not systematic. “She explains. The SPW website details the entire steps to follow.Sarah Pierre adds: “Dossier must include some criteria to be acceptable”.. To know:

  • Complete description of the incident, including date and time
  • Cause of the incident and its exact order
  • Photo of damage
  • A photo of the place where the incident occurred (if possible, always guarantee the safety of the user)
  • Quote or invoice to repair the damage
  • If the police come to see the damage, the police will report
  • And if there is testimony of those who witnessed the incident

Requests must be sent by email or mail to the relevant regional department. This department will do the initial analysis of the files, explains Sarah Pierre. “Then, the expertise is carried out by an approved company responsible for checking the relationship between road conditions, damage and compensation.”, She adds. The file is then sent to the SPW Litigation Department, which accepts or rejects the request.

“You need to know that each denial is motivated. For example, it warns the user that the file does not have a significant element, and is invited to send a more complete request. ,, A spokeswoman explains.

In the case of Samuel, it is the insurance company responsible for setting up the file to claim compensation in Wallonia. Fortunately, Samuel thought about everything on the day of the accident.I immediately called the police who came to see the damage and potholes. “.. He then paid attention to taking pictures of the kilometers of stanchions and holes, as well as the damage caused to his car.

Potholes and kilometers markers taken by Samuel on the day of the accident © Samuelvia Alertus.

Part of the pothole damage to Samuel’s vehicle

Despite all this evidence, Samuel’s insurers are not optimistic about possible compensation.they I told me it would be complicated. From that experience, the insurance company told me that the area intends to protect itself. He clearly told me they had a duty to maintain, but still all would cost me. We still make a request, but he told me it was a bit “hit and miss”. ” Samuel talks to us.

Call a lawyer to increase your chances of getting compensation

Renaud Vanbergen advises you to combine all the opportunities on his side and call a lawyer who wants to get compensation. “Because he is a law and litigation expert, the best thing is to call a lawyer. The attorney will contact the area, and therefore his government or competent ministry, and will discuss with the administration to establish liability and evidence. And if we conclude on liability, we agree on the amount of compensation. We also have car expertise in damage. “He explains.

Expert lawyers say they faced this type of file “frequently” given the road conditions in Wallonia. According to him, many court decisions have been published on this subject.Indeed, in this case there are very frequent cases where regional responsibilities are established. “..

Does Samuel have a light of hope? In either case, he needs to proceed with the repair. That is, for 1,500 euros, you need to fill out the quote in the file.