WHILE Glasgow City Council (GCC) has recently promised to fix more potholes across our city, seeing is believing.

Until the lunar surfaces of many of our roads are smoothed over what happens if you drive through a crater and have to replace a tyre or fork out hundreds of pounds for garage repairs?

Unless you have comprehensive car insurance the buck will stop with you. Even then, you'll need to weigh up whether it is worth claiming on an insurance policy depending on your excess payments and whether a claim will affect future premiums or a no claims bonus.

Potholes cost UK motorists a staggering £4 billion a year in repair costs. If you're a cyclist, road defects can literally put you in hospital. In 2019, Audit Scotland reported that there had been a 26% decline in spending on local roads over a five-year period.

The cost of repairing hazards on local roads in Scotland is estimated at almost £2 billion, with more than £1 billion needed for motorways and trunk roads.

Local councils are responsible for the maintenance of all roads in their area - except motorways and trunk roads - in terms of section 1 of the 1984 Roads (Scotland) Act.

The Roads Act doesn't impose liability on a local authority for losses sustained by motorists using roads. A council's liability for financial loss arising from the disrepair of its roads is found in the Scots common law of negligence.

An authoritative statement of the legal requirements for a pothole claim in Scotland comes from the 2014 case of MacDonald v. Aberdeenshire Council. Scotland's highest civil court held that "for a roads authority to be liable to a person who suffers injury because of the state of a road under their charge, two features must exist.

"First, the injury must be caused by a hazard, the sort of danger that would create a significant risk of an accident to a careful road user. Secondly, the authority must be at fault in failing to deal with the hazard".

To succeed in a claim, you must be able to prove a local authority of ordinary competence using reasonable care would have identified the hazard and would have taken steps to correct it.

If you hit a pothole here's what to do. When safe to do so use a smart phone to take photographs of the pothole in order to establish it's a hazard.

If you don't have a ruler to hand put your keys in the hole when you take a picture to provide a measurable scale. Take a picture of the damage to your vehicle at the location too.

Past Scottish court judgments have generally required potholes to be at least 40mm to 75mm deep to be actionable. That's around 3 inches.

Some councils require potholes to be at least 300mm wide (about 12 inches) - but it all depends on the particular circumstances.

Next report the defect. In Glasgow you can do this on the "report road faults" page: www.glasgow.gov.uk/ralf

Keep the receipts from your mechanic to prove loss. If there were any passengers in your car during the incident, ask them to write a short summary of what happened to help prove the damage was caused by the pothole collision.

In order to establish negligence, you will have to show the council was at fault.

That generally means showing the council was aware of the hazard but hadn't fixed it within the timescale in its "Road Safety Inspection and Repair Manual" (a link to this is on the GCC report road faults page).

If you can't prove how long the hazard has been on the road, or don't know if it had been reported in the past, you may have to rely on the council's cycle of inspections.

Most roads in the city are supposed to be inspected monthly (see the GCC manual).

Make a claim to GCC using its compensation form. You can do this here: www.glasgow.gov.uk/claims

If your claim is refused it will likely be because GCC deny liability as it wasn't aware of the road defect. To counter this defence, submit a freedom of information request to GCC for the inspection logs for the road where you hit the hazard: www.glasgow.gov.uk/forms/foi/FOIRequest.aspx

If this shows the road was not properly inspected in terms of the GCC inspection manual, you can use the sheriff court's simple procedure to sue for damages. Simple procedure can be commenced online here: www.scotcourts.gov.uk/taking-action/civil-online-gateway/welcome2

On the Scottish courts’ civil online website, you will find all the guidance and help that you may need.

You don't need a solicitor to pursue a simple procedure claim but can use one if you choose.