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Other driver caused a minor accident and is now lying about liability


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Hi there, firstly this is my first post so thanks to all who read and respond to this!

 

A couple of weeks ago I was driving across a bridge (which is a one-way road) in the middle lane as I was going to head right over the bridge to join a slip road onto a dual carriageway. There are 3 lanes across the bridge, with the left-hand lane filtering off almost straight ahead to some villages. The middle and right hand lanes run parallel to run down to the slip road (and the right hand lane then splits into 2 lanes so the far right hand lane goes back across the bridge (so it's like one big roundabout). I have been driving that road for more than 5 years so typically pick the middle lane as you tend to keep out of trouble that way as going in the right-hand lane can result in some drivers trying to cut in at the last moment.

 

Anyway, as I passed the exit to the villages and was in the inside lane, I felt and heard a bump at the rear of my car. A car had clipped the rear 'bumper' of my car (just by the rear of the wheel arch on the driver's side. We both pulled over (there wasnt much room to pull off the road, it was rush hour, dark and lots of traffic). I said to the guy that I was clearly in my lane so he must have drifted across. He didn't really say anything but took a look at the damage which looked minor. I said to him if he'd prefer, I could get a couple of quotes in case he didn't want to go through the insurance, to which he agreed. There didn't look to be much damage to his (old R reg) car - the plastic cover of his passenger side headlight looked to be hanging. I think he had a passenger in his car and I had a passenger in mine.

 

I got the quotes a couple of days later and called him, leaving a message on the answerphone. More than 24 hours later he hadn't called back so I called again. I think his father answered who brought the chap to the phone. I told him the cost of the 2 quotes (cheapest was £275 plus VAT which I thought was quite reasonable!) and he said that in that case he would go through the insurance. I asked for his insurance details and he said he didn't have them, he'd call me back.

 

He never did (I did pay for an on-line check to make sure his car was insured as I had begun to worry he didn't have insurance). I called my insurance company after that weekend and told them what had happened, thinking this should be quite clearcut and to cut a long story short, it appears the third party is now saying the bump was my fault and I changed lanes and cut him up! To be honest, I wanted to laugh but then I was absolutely seething that he could lie about this and my insurer says my witness won't count (not "independant") and it will probably be 50/50! So I have cancelled the repair of my car through the insurance, am prepared to pay this myself and am thinking of taking the other driver to court where I don't have to have absolute proof but it's on the balance of probabilities.

 

Any thoughts out there? There is a real matter of principle here and this guy shouldn't be allowed to get away with lying his way out of it. I have read up on the small claims court process and it looks quite straightforward.

Edited by honeybee13
Put in some paragraphs for ease of reading.
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Anyone who has worked in motor insurance will tell you we are a nation of liars when it comes to admitting fault for an incident, the amazing thing is, many people who are at fault, manage to convince themselves they are not in the wrong.

You can challenge him in court, your insurers would not have been wrong to state it would probably be a 50/50 as that is the most probable outcome. They were also correct about the witness unless the accident was in Scotland where the law is different. It doesn't get settled by the insurer straight away and they will never just go in and offer 50/50, it will always be argued and often won, it's just better to let you know the worst case scenario.

However, it all depends on the day in question, who the judge agrees with (you, him, or both), and you also have the other possibiliy that he won't want to stand in front of the court and tell his side of the story and back down, or his insurers (who he will pass any summons to) will ot want to bother fighting for £275.00 + vat.

If you issue you may wihs to notify your insurers, if the third party counterclaims, they will want to know about this.

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Thanks Mwynci. I contacted the local council this morning as although there's no CCTV at the spot where the bump occurred, I saw a camera on the road where you need to get into the right lane to go across the bridge. Council informed me that was not a CCTV camera but one that measures journey times (!). The guy said that there is CCTV at the roundabout further back down the road so I said that could help. He then said the camera may not have been pointing the right way and when it's dark often all you could see on it is car lights due to the low resolution. Makes you wonder why they bother to have them! Anyway he did said he'd download the footage to see if there was anything useful (although said he couldn't give me the pictures directly, would need to be requested by my insurance company via the police but I pointed out to him that I only wanted the photo of my own vehicle - he could erase all other vehicles!). I'm not expecting anything to come of this as there seem to be too many 'ifs and buts'.

 

I contacted my own insurance company again this morning - they have yet to hear back anything from the 3rd party insurers. As he had third party insurance, I've been told he would have to refer any claim himself to an accident management company. I explained to the insurance rep that I am considering taking him to court if he doesn't pay up via them. She (rightly I guess) said it was early days in the insurance claim (only logged 1 week ago) so they would wait for a while longer to see if his insurers (or accident management company) made contact. I told her I would be interested to hear more details of his version of events as I think it will sound quite implausable (even if no real evidence to disprove it).

 

Does anyone know if I end up taking this to the small claims court if the court makes a ruling on the grounds of probability rather than absolute proof (if the latter, there'd be no point in me doing this unless they will also take into account a witness who was a passenger in my car which the insurance company disregard as not 'independent')? The other driver also had a passenger but depends on whether he too would be prepared to lie in court.

 

I could do without all the hassle and raised blood pressure! However, there is a real sense of injustice here and I will do all I can to get the right result based on the truth.

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