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Brussels region pays out €270,000 for cars damaged by poor road conditions

06:57 02/03/2023

The Brussels region has had to pay more than a quarter of a million euros to vehicle-owners whose cars were damaged as a result of the city's poor road infrastructure.

The €270,000 in damages went out to 120 people who filed claims last year, La Dernière Heure reports.

The drivers argued that their cars were damaged as a result of problems such as uneven road surfaces, for example roads that cracked due to an underground pipe bursting.

Depending on whether the road was a municipal one or a regional one, they lodge a complaint with the competent authority.

The 120 claims that Brussels Mobility received - for regional roads - in 2022 were less than the 256 claims in 2021 and 148 claims in 2020.

The number fluctuates in part because someone whose car was damaged as a result of road infrastructure has a five-year window in which to file their complaint, so the number of complaints in a year does not necessarily reflect the number of incidents in the year.

“It regularly happens that insurers still submit a claim three to four years after the accident," Brussels Mobility told Bruzz.

“The amounts recovered in 2022 are not necessarily related to the cases filed in that year, as the procedures take time.”

For regional roads, which are generally the most major ones, Brussels Mobility has drawn up a specific procedure for reporting via an online form.

A number of conditions must be met for a complaint to be valid. There must be an obvious defect in the road surface, the region must be responsible for it and there must be proof, for example a witness testimony or police report. People therefore do not need a lawyer to file a complaint and be compensated.

In 2022, €272,888 euros were paid out (for reports filed in 2021).

These amounts are also not necessarily tied only to the number of complaints.

“Some years a higher amount is paid out because medical costs after an accident can sometimes be very high,” Brussels Mobility explained.

The road goes both ways, as well: the Brussels region can also demand compensation for damage to public roads caused by road accidents or acts of vandalism.

In these cases, they generally seek compensation from the perpetrator’s insurance company, and very rarely from the perpetrator himself.

The amount of damages is calculated based on repair invoices.

In 2022, Brussels filed 162 demands for compensation as result of "damage to public spaces", compared to 211 in 2021.

But for many instances of vandalism or damage to public spaces, no complaint is filed because a perpetrator could not be identified. This is often the case for damage that takes place during demonstrations and riots.

Written by Helen Lyons