When a road traffic accident results from the road being in a dangerous condition due to being in poor repair, the court is required to consider the extent of the danger and whether it results from a failure by the responsible authority to repair or maintain the road.
If that is shown to be the case, the question that then needs to be asked is whether the failure to maintain the highway in a safe condition was reasonable or not. The burden of proof that reasonable action has been taken to maintain the roadway in a safe condition will fall on the authority responsible.
In practice, the evaluation of the reasonableness or otherwise of the authority’s actions will depend on its maintenance procedures and responses to notifications of defects.
In cases in which an accident results from, or was partly the result of, an unsafe roadway, the first stage of the process for establishing liability is to obtain evidence sufficient to put the burden of proof on the authority responsible that it has taken reasonable action to maintain the highway in a safe condition.
Obtaining contemporaneous evidence of the condition of the highway in such cases is an important first step.