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Car Accident Despair


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My wife was driving our car on Friday night, when she was going to collect our son from the traini station.

Whilst in standing traffic, she indicated to turn right into a car park, looked for oncoming traffic and states there was none. She set off and started to turn right, as the car was approximately 3/4 of the way across the road she was hit by an oncoming car which actually hit the rear passenger door causing enough damage to warrant a new door and possibly a wheel arch panel.

Luckily no one was hurt and my wife exchanged details with the lady of the other car. This lady admitted several times that she was sorry and it was her fault as she just did not see our car. her husband who had been drinking told my wife to stop getting upset as it was only an accident and their insurance would pay up.

We have a witness who saw everything who will provide a statement to support my wife.

My wife and I then contacted our insurance company and were disgusted by their behaviour. We have been with them for over 15 years with no claims. After explaining what happened my wife was told that because she turned right into the path of another vehicle that it would be her fault even though when she looked there was no traffic, the car that hit her was travelling too fast to stop and the driver admitted that she did not see my wife several times.

My insurance company did not want me to provide a written statement, photographs, statement from the witness or nay evidence whatsover but just to let them admit liability to the other party. I have refused to do this and would welcome any advice from anyone out there who could help me please!

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she indicated to turn right into a car park, looked for oncoming traffic and states there was none [but there was!]. She set off and started to turn right, as the car was approximately 3/4 of the way across the road she was hit by an oncoming car [thought she said there was no traffic?] which actually hit the rear passenger door causing enough damage to warrant a new door and possibly a wheel arch panel.

Luckily no one was hurt and my wife exchanged details with the lady of the other car. This lady admitted several times that she was sorry and it was her fault as she just did not see our car [which was incorrectly in her lane in front of her]. her husband who had been drinking [relevance?] told my wife to stop getting upset as it was only an accident and their insurance would pay up.

We have a witness who saw everything who will provide a statement to support my wife. [how can a witness support your wife's action of turning in front of another vehicle?]

My wife and I then contacted our insurance company and were disgusted by their behaviour. We have been with them for over 15 years with no claims. After explaining what happened my wife was told that because she turned right into the path of another vehicle that it would be her fault [correct in 99% of cases] even though when she looked there was no traffic [obviously there was traffic... it hit her!], the car that hit her was travelling too fast [proof?]to stop and the driver admitted that she did not see my wife several times.

My insurance company did not want me to provide a written statement, photographs, statement from the witness or nay evidence whatsover but just to let them admit liability to the other party. I have refused to do this and would welcome any advice from anyone out there who could help me please!

 

I will be happy to be proved wrong, but I don't see any way this is going except as a fault claim against your wife jsut like your insurance company have advised you.

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I will be happy to be proved wrong, but I don't see any way this is going except as a fault claim against your wife jsut like your insurance company have advised you.

 

Presumably the witness would be able to confirm that the 3rd party was driving too fast.

 

The OP would still be at fault, but it may be that the 3rd party is found to be contributory negligent.

 

There is case law to support this.

Warning: Freemen of the Land Operate here. Think twice before accepting 'legal advice'.

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Presumably the witness would be able to confirm that the 3rd party was driving too fast.

 

 

How can a (presumably) non-expert witness, without the benefit of any speed measuring device (whether calibrated or not) "confirm the 3rd party was driving too fast".

 

If the 3rd party was driving so fast that it obviously in excess of the speed limit, even to a pedestrian, then I think the police should have been called and they would have been able to better assess the probable speed of impact.

 

If the witness is simply going to claim "it looked like the car ws going over 40mph" (on a 30mph road) then I think such evidence will simply be dismissed. After all, can you imagine if a police office sent you an FPN coz "it looked like you were speeding but I didn't measure it", what are the chances of that succeeding at court.

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My wife was driving our car on Friday night, when she was going to collect our son from the traini station.

Whilst in standing traffic, she indicated to turn right into a car park, looked for oncoming traffic and states there was none. She set off and started to turn right, as the car was approximately 3/4 of the way across the road she was hit by an oncoming car which actually hit the rear passenger door causing enough damage to warrant a new door and possibly a wheel arch panel.

Luckily no one was hurt and my wife exchanged details with the lady of the other car. This lady admitted several times that she was sorry and it was her fault as she just did not see our car. her husband who had been drinking told my wife to stop getting upset as it was only an accident and their insurance would pay up.

We have a witness who saw everything who will provide a statement to support my wife.

My wife and I then contacted our insurance company and were disgusted by their behaviour. We have been with them for over 15 years with no claims. After explaining what happened my wife was told that because she turned right into the path of another vehicle that it would be her fault even though when she looked there was no traffic, the car that hit her was travelling too fast to stop and the driver admitted that she did not see my wife several times.

My insurance company did not want me to provide a written statement, photographs, statement from the witness or nay evidence whatsover but just to let them admit liability to the other party. I have refused to do this and would welcome any advice from anyone out there who could help me please!

 

First high-lighted point; did your witness over hear this? Is so, it may be signifitant. Secondly I believe you are intitled to submit a claim to your insureres which must include a statement and any supporting evidence. So if this is what you have been told, you may have a case to persue against your insureres.

 

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

 

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Thank you for all your comments which I read with interest!

 

Latest update, I spoke to my witness last night and asked him to just describe to me what he actually saw and this was his reply " I was walking towards your car, which was in front of me, (with my girlfriend) and saw it turning from my right into the car park. At that very same point a car passed me heading towards your car, at I think, a speed of at least 20mph and probably some 20-25 yards away but we both noticed it didn't slow down but in fact was speeding up and didn't hit the brake until a second before impact. It then skidded into your car. I know this because I actually said to my girlfriend that the car has no brake lights on so I don't think it has seen the other car crossing the road".

 

Does this witness statement help my cause do you think?

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Your witness' statement appears to confirm that they believe the 3rd party car was travelling within the speed limit, unless you are suggesting the road was within a 20mph controlled zone. Either way, a pedestrian's opinion that a car was travelling at "at least 20mph" would not be taken as fact, if, for example the 3rd party claims to be travel "AT" 20mph (ie at the speed limit)

 

Your wife's claim that the 3rd party admitted fault, again, I don't see standing. As failing to notice your wife making the error of turning in front of the 3rd party doesn't make it the 3rd party's fault, after all, your wife didn't see the 3rd party either, so by the same argument if was your wife's fault!

 

If I am tavelling on a duel carrigeway, and fail to see a car driving the wrong way towards me and we crash, me failing to notice this car doesn't make it my fault for the crash does it.

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How can a (presumably) non-expert witness, without the benefit of any speed measuring device (whether calibrated or not) "confirm the 3rd party was driving too fast".

 

If the 3rd party was driving so fast that it obviously in excess of the speed limit, even to a pedestrian, then I think the police should have been called and they would have been able to better assess the probable speed of impact.

 

If the witness is simply going to claim "it looked like the car ws going over 40mph" (on a 30mph road) then I think such evidence will simply be dismissed. After all, can you imagine if a police office sent you an FPN coz "it looked like you were speeding but I didn't measure it", what are the chances of that succeeding at court.

 

Because it is not beyond the realms of human capability to be able to estimate the speed of an object. There are many occasions I can think of where I have been walking along a road and think to myself, when a car goes past, "he seems to be pushing it a bit."

 

A witness may suggest that a car was driving too fast in the same way that they may give evidence that the driver "seemed distracted" "appeared to be fatigued" "was driving 'erratically". Perception of speed, indeed of any of the behaviours I have just mentioned, is very subjective - but in a way, all evidence is. I was sat in court just last week when counsel asked a witness whether the defendant was 'amicable'!

 

As for the police officer situation - that is because in that scenario, we are dealing with a criminal matter. The prosecution would have to show beyond all reasonable doubt. So the opinion of two officers would be needed (or the opinion of one officer backed up by a mechanical device.) In the current case, we have a lower burden of proof plus there are no guidelines on having two witnesses etc.

 

Anyway - In the end it seems like the witness is of no use to the OP. They seem to confirm that the 3rd party was driving very slow indeed. It may not mean anything to insurers, but I am of the opinion that in a majority of RTC's it is rare to have all parties who are 100% not to blame. It takes two to tango, as they say. Driving at 20mph, I cannot begin to understand how the 3rd party could not stop in time - unless the OP's wife literally pulled straight into her path....

Edited by mightymouse_69

Warning: Freemen of the Land Operate here. Think twice before accepting 'legal advice'.

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I more or less agree with MM but I am more concerned in the behaviour of the OPs insurers here. The OP is still entitled to give his/her version of events and the insurers should be fighting his/her corner. Also, if the TP had admitted liability in front of witnesess then this should be taken into account. In my opinion the OP is not necessarily 100% liable here.

 

Please Note

 

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The fact that the TP has (aparently) admitted liability is irrelevant, given that they clearly weren't the one's in the wrong! Motorists are advised not to admit any kind of liability at the scene for precisely this reason.

 

The OP's wife has failed to give way to oncoming traffic when turning right and as such, is fully liable for this accident. The best you could hope for is contributory liability, but that would only be possible if it was proven that the TP was travelling too fast. From what you have said, that is not possible.

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There are two issues here, firstly responsibility for the accident itself, and secondly the actions of the insurance company.

As far as the first is concerned, in order to make a claim against another person, you have to demonstrate that the other person owed you a duty of care and that they breached that duty of care. All road users have a duty to drive in such a way as not to cause injury or damage to others. A breach of that duty will arise if the driver has been negligent. In the present case, both drivers had a duty to keep a proper lookout. Given the limited information available, it seems that both drivers might have been at fault in this respect, otherwise why was neither able to see the other? Overriding this mutual duty is the duty on the turning driver to ensure that it was safe to carry out the manoeuvre before proceeding to do so. The fact that she was hit by the other car which was travelling at a relatively low speed suggests that she failed to do this properly, and responsibility for the accident largely rests with her.

As has already been suggested, the other driver could be said to have been contributorily negligent as she failed to see the turning vehicle in front of her. However, the original hazard was caused by the turning vehicle, so the greater degree of negligence rests with the driver of the turning vehicle with the balance resting with the other driver. In this sort of accident, a 75/25 allocation is quite common.

The second issue is the action of the insurance company. One common misperception is that insurance companies are there to uphold your legal rights. In fact, insurance is a financial service, and the insurance company's responsibility is to protect you from the financial costs of the accident. When a claim is made against you by another party, the insurance company indemnifies you by dealing with and, when necessary, paying the other party's claim. The insurer may try to defend the claim, but is under no obligation to do so if this would be uneconomical. In any event, insurance policies generally contain a clause authorising the insurer to take over the conduct of a claim as it sees fit - you can no more insist that it defends a claim than you can insist that it pays one when it is not liable to do so.

AIn the present case it is probably not worth trying too hard to defend the claim for the 25% contribution that might be available if it were pressed to the bitter end. Having said that, there is nothing to stop you trying to claim against the other party for a contribution to the cost of repairs to your own car. However, that contribution would be limited to the amount of contributory negligence that you were able to establish on the other party which, as I said earlier, is probably around 25%. Given the time, trouble and possible expense that you would have to go to to do this, I would suggest that it is probably not worth the trouble.

All in all, I'd put this one down to experience and try to forget about it.

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