Mobility Scooter Users: Fight Back Against Council “Not Us, Gov” Pothole Damage Ducking Letters
24 Nov 2014
A mobility equipment insurer specialising in cover for powered wheelchairs and scooters has warned users not to accept standard “not our responsibility, guv” letters from councils rejecting pothole damage claims.
“Councils have a standard statutory defence that they cannot be held liable for a road defect they don’t know about, either because they’ve not been alerted to it, or because their own road monitoring team hasn’t spotted it – and if your mobility scooter is damaged by one, then you’ll probably get a letter to that effect without them even reading your letter of complaint or repair cost claim,” said Mark Effenberg who established Blue Badge Mobility Insurance when he couldn’t find a suitable insurer for his own son’s powered wheelchair.
“Their view is that the insurers should pick up the bill – but they’re taking the same attitude they would with a claim from a car owner – the difference is that insurance is not compulsory for mobility scooter users, so if a damage claim is rejected by a council, then the user may have to pay for damage his- or her-self.
“There’s no doubt that anybody trying to get compensation for damage to a mobility scooter caused by a pothole will end up in a bit of a scrap with the local authority, so tenacity is key.
“There are two types of damage caused by potholes: mobility scooters are pretty tough, but steering can be vulnerable to pothole damage. But there is the issue of secondary damage: the scooter may survive the impact of hitting the pothole unscathed, but it may well cause a loss of control and consequent impact with kerb, street furniture or another vehicle.”
Hampshire-based Blue Badge Mobility Insurance will provide policies covering use, protection and liability relating to scooter, wheelchair and home equipment, and will price-match like-for-like policies currently on the market. Other care-related insurance products will be launched throughout 2014 – all aimed at people who want to remain independent and receive care at home, and for those that care for them.
Typical guideline premium prices will be £24 a year for wheelchair cover, and from £59 for electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters.