POTHOLE compensation payouts are on the rise but mechanics said many people were just ‘taking it on the chin’ because of the council’s lengthy claims process.

Oxfordshire County Council paid out just over £30,000 in 2017 compared with £25,200 the previous year.

The number of total claims went down, but the amount of successful claims rose from 94 to 136.

Mark Drewett, one of the owners of Doug Drewett and Sons, based in Headington said the garage had seen an noticeable increase in pothole-related damage in recent years.

He said: “We see a lot of coil springs snapping, wheel damage and tyre damage.

“We have definitely noticed an increase in the past few years – it’s good for us I suppose but it’s not good for the average person on the roads.”

He added that the majority of people chose not to claim compensation from the council.

He said: “A lot of people go down the insurance route, or if it’s minor they will pay it themselves.

“To be fair most people don’t try for compensation because they feel it’s a long, drawn-out process and they just take it on the chin.”

The highest single payout last year was £1,130 while one person successfully claimed £17.50 due to damage caused by the poor condition of the county’s roads.

James Hall, a mechanic at T J Hall and Son in Sandford-on-Thames, said cars were failing MOTs because of potholes.

He said: “We have had cars failing MOTs because of springs snapping when people hit potholes.

“It’s always been an issue but it is definitely getting worse.”

Oxfordshire County Council service manager, Steve Smith, admitted claims can take years to fully process.

He said: “Compensation claims can often take some months or even years to process, particularly those involving a personal injury, and therefore there is little correlation between the number of claims and the cost of claims within any given financial year.

“A single personal injury claim can vastly distort the level of compensation pain in any given year and as such any increase does not necessarily reflect a trend of rising compensation costs.”

He added: “Oxfordshire County Council continues to compare very well with other highways authorities in the level of claims that are upheld.”