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What are my options for reclaiming my excess and additional costs?


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Hello all,

 

I've spent the last couple of hours reading various threads and I have learnt a great deal. However, I need some advice and opinions from you good people.

 

I was involved in a non-fault accident last month. At a four way junction, I was travelling straight ahead and the third party was travelling the opposite way indicating to turn right. At the centre of the junction, where the third party should have stopped and waited for me to clear his path, he did not and hit my car on the front drivers side corner.

 

Dashcam is installed in my car, shows the accident clearly. Also shows a satnav obscuring the third party view of the road quite clearly! Third party is a taxi driver driving a taxi and told me that his vehicle was also fitted with a dashcam.

 

The third party admitted liability the moment he stepped out of the vehicle, although, I'm quite aware this verbal acceptance doesn't mean anything.

 

Police were called as my car was not able to move, so they had to make the area safe until my car could be recovered.

 

Fast forwards to this last week. My car was deemed a total loss, my insurance and GAP insurance have agreed a price and currently I am waiting for the money to enter my account from both companies.

 

Now to the matter of my excess which has been deducted from my settlement payment. My insurance company has informed me that the third party/his insurance has not responded in any way to accept liability for the accident and that I will need to use their recommended legal service (Carpenters Solicitors) to reclaim my excess.

 

My question is, at this moment in time as I have not accepted any help from Carpenters Solicitors, although, they have been instructed by my insurance company to contact me, do I have to use them? Or am I better to try and reclaim the excess by myself by approaching a local solicitors?

 

The only reason this thought has crossed my mind is after reading numerous negative reviews for Carpenters Solicitors.

 

There are two amounts I wish to claim for:

My excess and £80 for my private numberplate to be transferred from the old car to the new car.

 

I'll be very thankful for any advice and opinions.

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Unless your excess is £5k+ it will be a small claims issue - so if you use solicitors of your own, you won't be able to reclaim their costs.

 

You could try writing to the insurers directly - although if they haven't admitted liability you might find they don't do anything.

 

Most hassle free option will just be to use carpenters solicitors - whatever route you take, insurers tend to be slow so you're looking at a few months to get any payment.

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The limit for small claims in the County Court is £10,000 – not £5000

 

You are not obliged to use the insurer's solicitors but of course it will smooth things out and avoid arguments about payment if you do.

 

However, I can assure you that if use any kind of solicitor, you will get half-hearted and long winded protracted treatment which will probably end up in some kind of compromise deal where you lose your excess and also you lose some no claims bonus as well.

 

It is important to recover your excess to put the seal on the fact that you were not at fault. This is really the only way to ensure that you don't lose any no claims discounts in the future.

 

From what you say it seems to be quite straightforward. You say that you have got video evidence. I think that you should handle this yourself.

 

If you are prepared to bring your own small claims in the County Court then you can avoid all the hassle of having to life on solicitors, not know what they're doing, getting frustrated with the lack of communication with you et cetera.

 

If you handle this yourself, you can move quickly and deal with it aggressively and keep the other side on the back foot.

 

I would put together a complete file of information and then I would write to the taxi driver giving a detailed account of exactly what has happened and tell them that you want full payment of all of your costs and that you want it within 14 days we will start action.

 

I would then begin the action. You be bringing a small claim in the County Court for negligence. On the basis of what you say it will be extremely straightforward.

 

I would also consider joining the insurance company and at same time as a second defendant. I would not accept any compromise settlements. I would insist on full liability being admitted because that is the only way to be absolutely certain that your insurers will accept that you are not at fault and they will reinstate your no claims discount.

 

If you're not up to doing this then quite frankly I think you should just write it off and put it down to experience and suffer the loss of the excess and also the loss of no claims discount over several years.

 

If you up to doing it then we will help you. You will find interesting and also you will gain some confidence that any court actions you want to take in the future.

 

It's up to you

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Thank you for your feedback.

 

I received a courtesy call from the appointed legal firm yesterday afternoon. They advised me they were not able to fully open my case yet as I had not received my two payments, therefore, my total losses were not confirmed on file. They said to contact them once my two payments had been received. This buys me a bit of time.

 

I again contacted my insurance company to see whether there had been any progress at all with the third party insurers admitting liability. There had been none. Out of curiosity I then asked whether anyone had looked at the dashcam footage I had submitted a couple of weeks prior and I was told that nothing had been noted on my file, therefore, it's not known. I requested that someone in a position to view the footage should take a look and send me confirmation of their opinion on the matter. I made it very clear to them that there was no way I was prepared to settle for a split decision in terms of liability. With that the call ended. Around an hour or so later, a lady from the Liability/Claims team sent me an email stating the following:

 

"Thank you for sending me the video footage. This has been reviewed and we continue to held the third party fully liable for this incident. Once there is an update regarding the third party we will let you know.

 

Thank you."

 

Good to know we're on the same page! And I feel much happier knowing the dashcam proved it's worth :)

 

BankFodder, thank you for your thoughts on this. I do have a question in regards to one of the points you made. You said "I would also consider joining the insurance company and at same time as a second defendant." - how would I do this? I have a clear idea of what to write to the Taxi Driver, but don't fully understand how I can get the insurance company on board? Could you please clarify?

 

Many thanks.

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Re joining Insurers In joint court claim, you would need to speak to them first. At the moment, it sounds like no court claim is on the table. Carpenters or whoever deals with your uninsured loss claims would need to negotiate with the third party insurers, but at the moment fault has not been decided between Insurers. Just to warn you, that claims involving taxis can be a pain, as the Insurers they use can be difficult e.g delays, arguing the toss.

 

Don't go rushing into writing letters or issuing court claims. Speak to your Insurers and Carpenters about timescales and process. You are probably feeling that you have no control over what is going on, but you may not speed up matters, if you also get involved. If you issued any court claim against the third party, you would have to pay fees and may be liable for costs. Hopefully, if you keep pushing your Insurers and Carpenters, you can gain settlement in reasonable time, without having the hassle and cost of doing it yourself. They won't go near a court, if they can avoid it.

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