A former soldier has been awarded compensation by Devon Council in an out-of-court settlement for injuries sustained in a motorcycling accident caused by a pothole.
Graham Mills, 45, sustained life changing personal injuries in the accident, and reached a settlement with the council following a two year legal struggle.
He said: “I served for 15 years in the Army, in dangerous places such as Iraq and Bosnia, and I was always fine.
“Then, I get onto Civvy Street, and I’m badly injured and my life is turned upside down because someone can’t fix the roads properly.”
In February 2009, Mr Mills was riding his motorcycle along the road when he drove through what he thought was a puddle of water.
Unfortunately, the water disguised a deep pothole and he was thrown over the handlebars of his motorbike and into the path of a car.
Mr Mills received injuries to his back, including compression and trapped nerves after he landed on his coccyx.
Following the motorbike accident Mr Mills, a father of two, found he could not walk further than 20m and he was unable to run his communications business.
The company was forced to close down and Mr Mills began to suffer with depression.
He said: “I went from doing everything, to doing nothing, and I was lost. My wife suffered. My kids suffered.
“I was so used to being active and it was all taken away from me.”
Both parties settled for an undisclosed sum on the first day of a county court hearing.
Mike Clarke, the injury lawyer who represented Mr Mills, said: “The council’s own records showed the pothole had already been repaired, but the repair had failed.
“They also showed the hole had been inspected only the day before the accident, but the council failed to take any remedial action, in breach of their own highway maintenance standards.”
A spokesman for the council said: “The claim was settled, without admission of liability, at a negotiated figure.
“The length of time taken to conclude this matter was due to the need to properly investigate the large claim that was submitted and we consider this reduction fully justifies the approach taken by the council.”