I'm considering taking legal advice over damage to my car from road chicanes.

After the high kerbs of the chicanes on Copse Hill, Wimbledon caused considerable damage to my car, I challenged Merton council. They replied via their insurers, Zurich, maintaining that the chicanes are “fit for purpose,” stating: "Chicanes are made to narrow the road to ensure that drivers reduce their speed accordingly. Provided an appropriate speed is taken, it will allow drivers to safely proceed through the chicane.”

Of course this ignores what you and I know, that the characteristics of every vehicle are different, and there is not an “appropriate speed” for each and every vehicle. I think I will see if I can ascertain from Merton Council the level of reported incidents since 2000 under the ‘Freedom of Information Act’, perhaps trying to involve the Residents Association in this exercise to get them roused up, and perhaps talk to the ‘Which?’ legal service to see whether I should spend any more time on this. Zurich reminded me that I am fully entitled to seek legal advice should I consider it necessary, but plainly there is a limit on time and cost to reclaim £545.

Asked on 14 September 2013 by RC, via email

Answered by Honest John
I think you'll find that the incidence of car damage has been greater when there was snow on the hill. Something that ill-conceived remark from Zurich took no account of at all. Basically, Merton Council has placed dangerous obstructions in the roadway that have caused considerable damage to a lot of cars. You might also enquire who got the contract to put the chicanes in and how much they were paid. A FoI request will have to disclose that.
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