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Minor accident, questionable liability, how to deal with it?


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Hello all, I could use an opinion on a recent incident, we are not sure how to proceed.

 

My fiance drove me to a doctor's appointment on a Saturday morning, we parked in the surgery car park (just a minor check up at the GP). On exiting the car park we made a left turn and collided with another vehicle which was coming down the street. This was a narrow street, the kind with terraced houses and cars parked down the entire length on both sides of the road, with effectively one lane in the middle for both directions of traffic to share. She was approaching from our left. There were no witnesses and I was the only passenger involved.

 

We had some damage to our front bumper, scraped and torn on the driver's side, the other car had severe crumpling to the front driver's side, broken headlight - but just bodywork, no engine damage. Photos attached - ours is silver, hers is red. We reported it for information to our insurance about half an hour after the incident.

 

We took down details of her car and I snapped some photos on my phone, however, she was unable to give us her insurance info as it was a company car and she didn't know it, so she just gave us her employer's name (a large and well-known comapny) and her address and phone number.

 

On the surface I know we would be found at fault as we were pulling out so she had right of way. But please consider the following:

 

1) We honestly had not seen her approaching - I looked as well and she was not visible before we pulled out. We had moved only inches out when the collision happened and were travelling less than 5mph. The damage to her car, not to mention the jolt, show that she must have been travelling pretty fast.

 

2) She said that she was rushing because she was late for an appointment - this is also why she didn't stick around very long at the scene.

 

3) She said at the scene that she saw us and "hoped we would stop". She did not sound her horn or brake. Even though she had right of way, surely if you see another car coming towards you you have a responsibility to stop?

 

4) She then rounded off by saying that she swerved towards us!!! She said this in the context of "it's a good job I did or you would have pushed me into the car parked on the other side".

 

5) She also said that she knows the road "very well" and knows that the visibility from the car park entrance is rubbish.

 

We told our insurer all of the above and made a written note of it immediately. We have not made a claim at this point (about 2 weeks since) as the damage to our car is fairly minor and our excess is £300, which we cannot really afford to pay if it is found to be our fault (I will be unemployed in 2 weeks time). We have not yet heard anything from her or her company's insurance.

 

Can anyone give us any advice for how to handle this if she claims against us?

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It seems that you have handled it well so far. I would imagine that sooner or later you will hear from her insurers so in the meantime, record all the incident on paper so you have all the info ready for when it comes. By the look of the damage to the TPs car, I would say they will deffo come on to you as we are looking at 4 figures IMHO. Obviously at that stage, you will have to pass it to your insurers. As for who is at fault, well technically you (as you know) but it appears there are some mitigating circumstances where liability may be split.

 

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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.

 

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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Pretty much as stated by sailor sam, although a couple of points to be aware of.

 

Firstly, unless you made it clear at the time that an injury had been sustained, there is no legal requirement to exchange insurance details, so in this respect, it appears that the law has been complied with.

 

As mentioned, primary liability would lie with the driver of your vehicle, and whilst there may be mitigating circumstances, unless there is evidence of excess speed, which may not in itself be contributory to the cause of the crash, it is not for the other side to prove they were not speeding, but for you to prove that they were. So unless there was a full accident investigation (which obviously there would not have been for an accident of this nature) then it is going to be very difficult.

 

In due course, the other sides insurers will write a standard letter of claim holding your fiance liable. Pass it onto your insurers and they will take over conduct of your case. It is unlikely to be a split liability of 50/50, but you may get a 70/30 or 80/20 split liabilty decision based on your comments, providing your claims handler at your insurance company is switched on.

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Let your insurance company handle it and get your car reapired through them, thats what you pay it for; you have lost your NCB anyway and your premium will go up.

Split in responsability will not help you, just between ins co.

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  • 1 month later...

Having only just joined the forum, I make no claims to expertise in dealing with these matters, but my time as a Police Officer and latterly as a self employed motor mechanic leads me to be suspicious of the damage as shown by your photographs. The wing damage is considerably higher than the top level of your bumper, suggesting that there was pre existing damage that the TP was trying to cover by 'swerving into you'. If you are in a position to visit the vehicle, measure the relative heights and if possible photograph the measurements if there IS a discrepancy. Pass this on to your Insurer with a note of the suspicion that you were not responsible for all of the damage.

My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

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Good point from Gick, well worth checking. However, if this does appear to be true, I would go a bit stronger and ask my insurer to refer it to the fraud department.

 

My wife had a similar incident in a car park once and the 3rd party's claim was getting "unrealistic". in fact, I think they even tried changing the driver to the policy holder (a woman) when it was in fact a man driving (her brother). We suspected he wasn't even insured to drive her car. Following our request to handle it through the fraud department we never heard anything further about it.

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