Car Damaged From A Pothole? Claim From Authorities!


Car Damaged From A Pothole? Claim From Authorities!

If you’re caught in a situation where your car has sustained damage due to a poorly maintained road, you might be inclined to report it and let your wallet take the hit. Don’t, as road safety experts say you have the right to pursue compensation.

No matter how vigilant a driver is sometimes, our cars inevitably fall victim to bad road conditions. Potholes are just a fact of life for Klang Valley dwellers and, anecdotally, perhaps one of the largest contributing factors to the rise in SUVs

Pothole - USA

However, there is a proviso here, which is that you’re much more likely to receive said compensation from highway operators, not local town or city councils, according to Associate Professor Dr Law Teik Hua, head of the Road Safety Research Centre at University Putra Malaysia.

“The Malaysian road condition management system needs to be revised, as it might not be effective anymore due to the rise in the number of vehicles on the road compared to previously,” he told The Sun, emphasising the extreme danger potholes pose to motorists, especially motorcyclists as it could result in total loss of control and an easy injury.

N.V Subbarow, education officer for the Consumers Association of Penang concurs with the responsibility falling onto the shoulders of highway operators: “Road users are paying road tax and toll and they want safe roads. It’s not only speed that kills but also the condition of the roads. There are a lot of complaints from road users about (waterlogged stretches) whenever it rains.”

MEX Highway

Both were commenting on an incident that occurred a week prior, where several vehicles were damaged along a stretch of the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) due to potholes and poor road surface conditions.

Should the evidence be sufficient and the negligence obvious, lawyer Kokila Vaani Vadiveloo also told The Sun that a lawsuit could even be considered against the concessionaire as well, pointing to Section 4(1) of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974, which states the local authority shall, so far as a fund at its disposal will admit, cause all public streets together with the footways thereof, whether covered by arcades or not, to be maintained and repaired.

She also references Sections 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(e) under the Malaysia Highway Authority that speaks to the maintenance of highways under its jurisdiction.

Porsche 911 - Bent Wheel

“Public roads include highways but if vehicle owners (incur) damage (to their vehicle) caused by potholes on a highway, they might consider a lawsuit against the concessionaire as well. Although they cannot sue the government for anything done within their public duties, they can still file an action against the government upon proof of negligence,” she said.

“Vehicle owners need to ascertain the rigidity test of foreseeability of the mishaps happening to the negligence of the concessionaire and government to fasten liability for a cause of action under Tort claims,”

They should also photograph as much proof as they can as the pictures can serve as evidence that will be required to provide proof of losses that they intend to claim.

“Therefore, a victim of (an incident) can bring a claim against the authority responsible by filing a negligence claim, as it is the statutory duty of local authorities to maintain public roads,” she added.


While concessionnaires are more exposed and identifiable in terms of damages and compensation by a highway user, motorists can generally agree that the broader road network maintained by the federal or local government maintained by the federal or local government that is usually the culprit when it comes to potholes and other symptoms of poor maintenance.

Though falling victim to bent wheel or puncture because of it is equally frustrating regardless of location, it could be tougher to seek compensation as it isn’t immediately clear who is the party responsible for the road’s upkeep.

Jim Kem

Jim Kem

Content Producer

There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.