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Admiral pursuing me for partner's uninsured driving


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I'm seeking some advice...

 

Cutting long story short

- a couple of years ago someone else (my partner) was driving my car (with my permission) with me as a passenger.

Partner had a fully comp insurance and wrongly thought it contained a third party insurance on my car

(i accept it was a very stupid mistake, and we have learnt a lesson to check all details on insurance big time!).

Partner was not listed on my policy.

 

 

My vehicle was involved in a minor collision with another vehicle while being driven by my partner.

No visible damage to either of the cars and third party driver and passenger assured they were fine and had no injury.

Police were not called.

 

 

Afterward we called partner's insurers to inform them of this minor collision

it transpired partner was not insured on third party vehicles, including my car.

 

 

Eventually third party made a series of claims including whiplash and damage to vehicle.

Admiral sent me form of indemnity which i did not sign.

Partner never had any communication about this from any source.

 

 

Now Admiral are pursuing me for just short of 10k for their "outlay" in this case.

Third party was also insured with Admiral.

 

 

I am concerned they have not investigated this matter at all and as far as i'm aware no medical or other evidence has been presented by third party and this claim has been just paid out by Admiral without any consideration to minimise the costs.

 

My question is:

does this mean all claims have now been paid out by Admiral to third party considering they seek "settlement proposal" for their "total outlay"?

Also my understanding is Admiral would only be able to act as RTA insurer and pay out to third party IF they obtained either signed form of consent and indemnity or obtained court judgement against the driver (my partner) BEFORE paying out the claims to third party

(considering i was not the driver, partner was not a named driver on my policy, and form of consent has not been signed).

 

 

I have obtained legal advice from solicitor who advised not to sign the consent and indemnity form as it is effectively a blank cheque.

He gave me advice as above

 

 

i'm still confused as to why have Admiral paid out to third party as RTA insurer (which they say they did) without any signed consent form or court judgement?

 

 

can Admiral now legally pursue me for their outlay?

Can they now take legal action and obtain court judgement against my partner (we are still together) considering they have never even sent them any communication (although they were aware of driver's details)?

 

 

The solicitor seems to suggest they Admiral effectively do not have a legal leg to stand on now as they have paid the claims out without taking the required steps as above,

 

 

if anyone has any similar experience or knowledge i would be grateful for this.

I just don't know where to go from here and how to finally resolve this.

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It does sound as if all claims have been paid out.

Admiral are the RTA insurer in this case, and their policy document does include a right of recovery against the insured, if they permit an uninsured driver to use the car (as has happened here).

 

Put simply,

if they allowed proceedings to be issued,

the amount they paid out (and consequently the claim against you) would be much higher

- they are arguably mitigating their losses.

 

I take it that your partner was at fault for the incident itself, regardless of the insurance issued?

 

I believe,

Admiral are obligated to act as RTA insurer in this scenario under s151 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is not dependent on you signing any sort of indemnity form.

 

If they had a get out as easy as that the Third Party wouldn't have been paid at all.

They paid out because they had to.

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I don't think it is wrong to come after you for the outlay to the third party, as they had responsibility under RTA.

 

However, if they paid out without gaining sufficient proof from the third party, that they did suffer an injury and/or damage to their vehicle, then you should be in a position to negotiate.

 

Outside of a court claim against you, i am not sure of the legal position to require full disclosure from Admiral of all claims information. They have responsibilities under Data Protection Act in regard to third parties data and they probably can't disclose it to you, without third parties consent.

 

Perhaps write back to Admiral asking them to gain consent from the third party to release all information to you about the claim they made. This is to satisfy any Data Protection issues that apply. Then see how they reply.

We could do with some help from you.

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Outside of a court claim against you, i am not sure of the legal position to require full disclosure from Admiral of all claims information. They have responsibilities under Data Protection Act in regard to third parties data and they probably can't disclose it to you, without third parties consent.

 

Perhaps write back to Admiral asking them to gain consent from the third party to release all information to you about the claim they made. This is to satisfy any Data Protection issues that apply. Then see how they reply.

 

Good point.

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Hi, thanks for your replies.

 

Admiral have stated initially that unless i sign the indemnity and consent form, they will take no part in this claim until unsatisfied court judgement has been obtained, so i am left wondering why they have decided to pay it out without it.

 

Can they still issue county court proceedings against me/my partner considering they have now paid the claimants?

 

My main concern is the way Admiral has been dealing with this claim.

During my conversation with them several months after the incident they have stated that they had no medical or other evidence from third party and simply decided on the amounts to pay out "based on their experience"

- according to my solicitors the amounts they are now stating are highly inflated and they appear not to have followed Judicial Studies Board guidelines.

 

 

Whilst I appreciate the mistake on my partner's part, i cannot simply accept to pay the ridiculous sums Admiral are now demanding from me considering they have had no basis to pay out that much money..

 

They have decided it was my partner's fault, although again i don;t know on what basis considering no one has even spoken to him or took statement or even looked at the photos I had sent them.

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They paid the third party as they had little choice, but if they expect someone else to repay them, then they have a duty to obtain full evidence to substantiate the claim. Yes they can apply for a CCJ against you.

 

Smart tactic is to get them to obtain the third parties consent to release all claims information to you. The third party might refuse or not answer and then Admiral have a problem. You then say to Admiral that if they don't supply all of the information you have no way of checking that Admiral dealt with the third party claim properly.

 

If it gets to stage later where Admiral issue a court claim, you would insist on full disclosure and no doubt negotiate a reduced settlement or defend the claim in full, if there are issues with the way Admiral dealt with the third party claim.

We could do with some help from you.

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Thanks for your response.

 

What i am saying is only what i have been advised by a solicitor specialising in motoring offences who told me that in his opinion I am not liable for this as my partner was not driving as my employee or my servant and Admiral should have advised third party to issue proceedings against him before paying out the claim and they would be able to pursue my partner for their outlay. Solicitor told me that in the current scenario Admira don't have a leg to stand on as they have already paid out.

 

I am quite worried that what i have been told on here is quite different to the legal advice i had paid for.

 

I was also advised to offer Admiral a small "ex gratia" payment to get rid of this matter,

and if they don't accept it,

there is a long list of issues/questions that i want them to address in how they have dealt with this claim including any evidence they based their payments on..

 

 

I really would like to avoid this matter getting to any CCJ proceedings against me...

Do you think Admiral are likely to negotiate with me and respond to my offer or are they likely to go straight into issuing proceedings?

 

 

I am thinking perhaps it would be good for me to get legal advise from another company to see what they say, as i don;t want things to escalate further:(

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Insurers don't normally need your consent to settle claims on any basis they think fit because policies contain a 'claims control clause'. This from Admirals current policy wording (check your own policy in case it's different):

 

"We are entitled to:

-- conduct the defence or settlement of any claim on your behalf

-- take legal action over any claim in your name or the name of any person insured on the

policy for our own benefit

-- admit negligence for any accident or claim on your behalf

-- investigate your claim and exchange information with other parties involved with the

accident or claim. However, we will treat your information carefully and only reveal it in

cases where we believe it is necessary"

 

However, it isn't obvious to me (and I am an insurance claims professional by background) whether this claims control clause also applies where Admiral settle as the 'insurer concerned' under s151 Road Traffic Act 1988. It's at least arguable that it doesn't as you have not made a claim under the policy, and arguable whether the claims control clause can apply to an RTA insurer concerned incident which, by definition, isn't being paid under the policy anyway.

 

This is Admiral's clause on recovering RTA insurer concerned payments. This is what I call a 'belt and braces' clause. The right of recovery exists anyway under s151(8) RTA 1988 and Admiral could therefore recover from you irrespective of the policy wording. However as your solicitor has pointed out under the Act the insurers duty to pay (and right to recover from you) applies only where judgement has been obtained against you but in the policy Admiral has extended its powers of recovery by adding the phrase "(including settling such a claim on a reasonable basis in anticipation of such a liability)".

 

"Payments made under compulsory insurance regulations and right of recovery

 

If we are required to pay a claim under Road Traffic Law or the law of any country in which

this policy operates (including settling such a claim on a reasonable basis in anticipation of

such a liability), which we would not otherwise be liable to pay had the law not existed, we

shall be entitled to recover such payments (including legal costs of reasonably defending

the claim) we make from you if you or any other insured person:

-- caused the loss directly or indirectly

-- caused or permitted the vehicle to be driven by an uninsured driver

-- through act or omission, caused this insurance to be invalid"

 

If you challenged them on whether they were entitled to settle without judgement being secured against you and without consulting you I suspect they will refer to these two clauses as the basis for their authority to do what they have done.

 

I would challenge them on 2 grounds:

 

(1) The policy requires them to settle the claim "on a reasonable basis" and the amount they have settled for is unreasonably high. But be aware their justification is likely to be that if they had litigated it costs would have been much higher.

 

(2) The driver, your partner, had to have "caused the loss directly or indirectly". How have they established that if they have taken no statement from your partner? From what you have said this may be your strongest line of attack. Unless Admiral can show they have established that your partner "caused the loss directly or indirectly" they cannot invoke the policy recovery clause. But be prepared for them to take you to court to argue the point.

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Suggest you go back to the Solicitors armed with the information provide and see what they think.

 

If it were me and fault for the accident was not clear, i would ask for full disclosure of all info on the claims file. I would want to see what the third party has said and what evidence they supplied. I would not be paying anything at this stage or admitting any liability for any amounts.

We could do with some help from you.

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Bear in mind that if they had obtained judgement against your husband, then it would have added further costs to the claim for you to pay.

 

It is standard practice for Insurers to pay claims without going through courts where the claim circumstances and / or value are undisputed.

 

Also bear in mind that it would be surprising if Admiral had medical evidence a couple of months after the accident to support the injuries. Generally the third party would visit their GP or Hospital (Although this is not essential) and evidence of this may not have been available a few months after the accident. Normal practice for an injury would be for the medical expert to perform their report a long time after the accident to allow time for the injuries to settle and / or recover. This enables a proper assement and for the Insurer to calculate the compensation.

 

Admiral may have by passed a solicitor for the third party to reduce costs.

 

In such a claim an Insurer would (Should) expect their paperwork to be very comprehensive so that if and when it's disputed by you that everything stands up to scrutiny and there can be no disputes over the payments made.

 

It's worth noting that Admiral are very efficient at pursuing such payments.

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Dacouc - thanks for your comment. So what would you do in my situation? simply pay Admiral almost 10k? i do think they could have done it much cheaper. I spoke to them about 10 months after the accident and at that point they still had no medical evidence. I don't think they have investigated it at all. I accept we will have to pay up something but Admiral have not justified this amount. Can i make them and offer and what are they likely to accept?

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Dacouc - thanks for your comment. So what would you do in my situation? simply pay Admiral almost 10k? i do think they could have done it much cheaper. I spoke to them about 10 months after the accident and at that point they still had no medical evidence. I don't think they have investigated it at all. I accept we will have to pay up something but Admiral have not justified this amount. Can i make them and offer and what are they likely to accept?

 

Dacouc may add their reply at some point.

 

Can i suggest that you leave this thread today. Come back tomorrow with a clear head and have a good read, in particular the very comprehensive post from Ethel Street.

 

This demand for £10k out of the blue would be a shock to anybody, when neither you or your partner have had much input. I doubt say £2k as a full and final settlement would be accepted by Admiral. They will probably want the full amount. Best way forward is to get Admiral to disclose everything by obtaining third party to consent to release their data and then see what you find out. Negotiate armed with more information.

We could do with some help from you.

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if you don't have 10k if the case fails if I was you then last option is bankrupt or offer like £5 a month to pay off the loan in court

 

 

Woah, talk about the nuclear option!

 

This is not good advice. If the OP gets taken to Court and loses and gets a CCJ then there are other repayment options without jumping straight to bankruptcy.

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Dacouc - thanks for your comment. So what would you do in my situation? simply pay Admiral almost 10k? i do think they could have done it much cheaper. I spoke to them about 10 months after the accident and at that point they still had no medical evidence. I don't think they have investigated it at all. I accept we will have to pay up something but Admiral have not justified this amount. Can i make them and offer and what are they likely to accept?

 

What makes you think they could have done it cheaper? Do you know what claims were made?

 

It looks like we're talking (based on your first post) about two personal injury claims together with a vehicle damage claim - which itself makes a credit hire claim likely too.

 

If that's what they dealt with, less than £10k for all those claims is probably a good day at the office.

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What makes you think they could have done it cheaper? Do you know what claims were made?

 

It looks like we're talking (based on your first post) about two personal injury claims together with a vehicle damage claim - which itself makes a credit hire claim likely too.

 

If that's what they dealt with, less than £10k for all those claims is probably a good day at the office.

 

.... particularly when factoring in letting an uninsured person drive the car....

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