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Old 12th August 2009, 02:24 PM   #1
Andrea
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Insurance/liability issues with car accident

DH had a bumper bender (he was hit from behind at a yield waiting to turn onto main road, woman hopped out, apologised gave phone numbers and insurance info). That was over 2 weeks ago now, damage was worse than it appeared, we've been without the car (DH's new-to-him car which he'd only had 10 days!!!), and now it appears we are liable for the excess and we lose our no claims status because the other party hasn't even contacted their own insurance company yet!

Any idea what our options might be? Our insurance company hasn't been terribly helpful, but perhaps have done all they can within the rules? They have mentioned debt-recovery from the other party, but have also said they can't do any more than they have since the other party hasn't got in touch with their own insurance company.

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Old 12th August 2009, 02:44 PM   #2
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

How about contacting the other party and asking them if they want to pay the excess bill themselves or do they instead want you to send it to their insurance company, and then contact their insurance too if necessary. 'Pass the parcel' so to speak
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Old 12th August 2009, 03:29 PM   #3
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

What a load of bollocks! Within the rules? Breaking every one of them in this case.

Do not under any circumstances accept this. I'm presuming you spoke with a junior who does not know their job. Ring back and ask to speak to the Senior Claims Manager and do not acccept any less. The situation is that DH has done everything right by identifying the other driver and there is no question of who was at fault. A rear ender is absolutely the fault of the person who did the rear ending whatever the circumstances. Even if the woman was not insured, just by those actions, your Company has to pay out on your damage without any loss of excess or No Claims Bonus. Hell this makes me mad!

If you are still given the run around, ask for a copy in writing of their Disputes Resolution process (they have to have one) and then you put your case to that department. If that goes against you, you request a Deadlock letter and then you go to the Ombudsman. There is no way, in this situation that it will get that far I promise you.

Stick to your guns as a loss of No Claims Bonus goes with you for 3 -4 years and is seen as having been at fault. Besides, you can guarantee your insurance will cost more! Would love to know who your insurance company is - PM me if you want to as I may be able to help some more.
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Old 12th August 2009, 03:29 PM   #4
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Been there, done that - unfortunately
Mine was a wee bit different in that the guy who hit me wasn't insured. And he seemed to think he had 6 Mongrel Mob members who were personal friends of his who saw ME reverse into HIM. Not deterred by this rubbish, I hounded my insurance company to sort it out. Ended up with me having to take him to the Disputes Tribunal. Had no problem winning the case. Perhaps it was the "wasn't my fault last time either" defence, or the fact he had no licence that did it, but that then gave the insurance company the right to chase him to the ends of the earth to get him to pay up. Was a long drawn out process, but worth the effort. His little fender bender cost a couple of grand to repair.
Point being, until she files a claim, or you chase her thru legal channels, I suspect your insurance company has their hands tied.
Would certainly be worth ringing her directly to see if she would prefer to just pay for the damage herself, rather than thru insurance.
But I will say, once we decided to persue the matter thru Disputes Tribunal, the insurance company really did their homework. They had photos of the area and measurements etc etc for the referee to look at.

Good luck.
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Old 12th August 2009, 03:59 PM   #5
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Hi Andrea,

been there, done that. We had three rear-enders within one year, none our fault so I've got a bit of experience there. Yes, we had to cough up the excess and lost our no claims bonus. Had to take the other party to the disputes tribunal, won, got excess refunded, no-claims bonus was reinstated. Will pm you.

Sorry Didi, but in this case you are wrong. I know of two cases where someone reversed into a friend's front, once at a railway crossing when the car in front of him stopped a bit too late and reversed in panic. The other was someone parallel parking in front of my friend, hit the accelerator instead of the brakes and crashed into her front.

In both cases the reversing parties tried to get out of it by citing what you are stating but neither of them got away with it - luckily.

Also - if the other party does not admit its their fault your insurance company will ALWAYS charge the excess and refund it once the matter is sorted out. Have a read through the small print. You'll find it there.

Last edited by Simkin; 12th August 2009 at 04:04 PM..
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Old 12th August 2009, 06:17 PM   #6
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

we were told by our insurance company (after the fact) to contact them re any accident where we were not the liable party as that is what we pay our premiums for, for our own insurance company to chase up the insurance company of the offending party.
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Old 12th August 2009, 06:54 PM   #7
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Simkin I think that just proves DIdi right, "as the exception proves the rule"
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Old 12th August 2009, 07:24 PM   #8
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Thank you Pru - that is exactly what insurance is MEANT to be about!

Simkin - you are right and you are wrong. The examples you gave are not what I define as a rear ender. It is when someone drives up your rear end because they can't stop - whatever - but the damage is to the rear of your car, not the front.

Having said that - much to my disgust - this is taken from the Insurance Ombudsman's site:

9. I was involved in an accident which was not my fault. I made a claim to the company and I have been told I must pay my excess of $300 and I will lose my no claims bonus. Is this right?
You are responsible for the amount of the excess each time you make a claim, regardless of fault. However, if the other party is insured and his/her company accepts he/she was at fault, your excess will usually be refunded and your no claims bonus reinstated. If the "at fault" party is uninsured, you will have to recover the excess directly from that party.

Let me quote from the Insurance Council of New Zealand submission to the debate on compulsory insurance. " A further point that's worth noticing is that the proposal for Compulsory Third Party Motor Insurance also is done in the hope of protecting insured innocent parties from the consequences of being hit by uninsured drivers. This is currently covered by existing insurance schemes. The Uninsured Motorist Extension, promoted by the Insurance Council, provides cover for insured drivers who are hit by
uninsured drivers, ensuring that they are not financially affected in any way"


Where this all gets very confusing is that if the other "at fault" party does not have insurance; you have established the identity etc of the at fault party and you are clearly not at fault - they state that you will not have to pay your excess or lose your NCB. Check out AA for example - no I am not insured with them.

I guess the question is - who on earth are you insured with to end up in these fights?

The reason I am asking that is that I spent some months this year fighting just such a case (but involved a $4000+ pay out as well) and I refused to lie down and be the victim. I was doing it for someone else - not my accident. It was hard and time consuming but in the end I got what I wanted simply because in my terms, abuse of process is not acceptable. You pay your insurance to be covered in the event of an accident whether your fault or not and that is the risk the insurance company covers when they agree to insure you. If they don't, then why the hell are you insuring with them? Needless to say, the non supportive insurance company got kicked to the curb in five minutes once this was settled and the money in the bank.

I think everyone needs to go to their insurance company and ask the question - as asked above and get an answer. Record the date because all insurance companies record their calls and that can be dragged up if you are ever in this position.

So finally Andrea - tell you insurance company (after doing what I suggested in my first post) that you wish the claim to be dealt with as if the other named and identified driver was not insured and that the Insurance Council states you will not be affected an any way financially - so no excess and no loss of NCB!
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Old 12th August 2009, 07:30 PM   #9
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

I have been hit a few times by others...and only once have I been asked to pay an excess, and this was sorted out once I contacted the person who hit me (the insurance company hadn't been able to track them down).

My insurers have always said that as long as you are not at fault, they cover the excess and there is no impact on your no-claims bonus. Then they sort it out with the other party.

I too would be interested in which companies involved. My car insurance is under Lumley via a broker...
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Old 12th August 2009, 08:29 PM   #10
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigger View Post

My insurers have always said that as long as you are not at fault, they cover the excess and there is no impact on your no-claims bonus. Then they sort it out with the other party.
That's exactly the point. If you are NOT at fault. That's the same in what DiDi quotes from the insurance council.

But how is that determined? Does it mean if you say that you are not at fault that you really are not at fault?

What if both parties say they are not at fault?

Does that mean that there is no impact on either parties' excess or no claims bonus?

I think not.

The whole point here is that the person who hit Andreas OH does not admit liability.

So liability must be sorted out before the insurance company can refund Andrea's excess and reinstate the no claims bonus.

With a rear ender it usually is easy to establish liability but I know of several cases where 50/50 liability was determined as neither driver accepted responsibility (no rear ender among those cases, though)

Andrea, I think the first step should be that you try to contact the other party. I hope you still have her contact details. Just tell her what the problem is, if she doesn't contact her insurance company you'll take her to the small claims court and often that is enough to sort this out.


Didi - regarding rear-ender: Once the accident has happened there is no way how anyone can tell whether the first car reversed or the second car was unable to stop. One car is damaged in the front, the other in the rear. That's all the insurance companies can see after the accident.
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Old 12th August 2009, 11:24 PM   #11
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Smile Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simkin View Post

What if both parties say they are not at fault?
I have been in this situation before...LUCKILY at the time I actually called the police myself...and the police officer determined it wasnt my fault. In the future any accident im involved in, provided its not my fault, i will call the police, just so the person cant change stories later on, or give me false details etc
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Old 13th August 2009, 07:32 AM   #12
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

FM makes a good point about witnesses - even for a minor accident, name and phone number of someone who saw what happened helps.
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Old 13th August 2009, 08:54 AM   #13
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

From what I have been told by "professionals" if you are hit from behind, it is always that person behind who is in the wrong, as technically they should be able to stop safely by travelling a safe distance behind, you in the car in front, are just an inconsiderate *^# driver, if you stop for no reason or use no indicators when turning Etc(exception to this rule,,,, I had someone reverse into me when parked up next to a kerb )
Always get witnesses or ph cops.
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Old 13th August 2009, 08:56 AM   #14
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Well, FM, you were lucky in one respect - that the other party indicated on the spot they were not at fault either. Often everything is fine until they come back days or even weeks later saying it was not their fault.

I've once called the police for a non-injury accident. It took a full hour before they arrived, they took their notes and when the other party suddenly decided it was not their fault the notes had disappeared. So we were back to square one.

But - if there are witnesses - try to get their details. Just knowing that there are witnesses will make the guilty party think twice about changing their story afterwards.
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Old 13th August 2009, 02:12 PM   #15
Andrea
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Thanks for all the input, everyone, it is much appreciated. Never having been in this situation before (ever, anywhere!), we just don't know what is supposed to happen and to what sort of timeline. In the US, where everything's rush-rush-rush, 2+ weeks would be unheard of, but then again, in most states it's illegal NOT to have insurance (and in some states will get your car impounded on the spot!).

A few years ago, here, I backed into a car that was in my blindspot (and was parked in what was arguably a very bad spot at a very bad angle), but I took responsibility for it, as I backed into the car (I still considered it my fault). No one was around, but we took photos and left a note. The person whose car it was didn't even get in touch for over a week, which I thought odd at the time, but maybe that's how things work?

My van wasn't even scratched, so there was no claim from our end, but I reported it to my insurance company as soon as the other party got in touch, as well as admitted liability. Yes, our insurance rates took a hit, albeit a small one, but it was about doing the right thing! So it gets up my nose that the person who hit my husband can't be bothered to do the same, much less in a timely manner...

I will become a very squeaky wheel next week, and will also be getting in touch with the other party (thought I suppose it should be DH who phones, as I wasn't even there, but he hates stuff like this even more than I do).

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Old 13th August 2009, 02:39 PM   #16
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Well, I have always called the police with any accident, no matter how small. I am sure its part of the insurance that you have to have the police incident number to give to the insurance company before they will process any claim. Even if you go to the police station after the event and report it, you still need to do it.
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Old 13th August 2009, 02:41 PM   #17
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Know what you mean Andrea, it is the inconvenience and the hassle, the wait to get approval. Sometimes it is so much "easier" to just pay and get it fixed yourself.
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Old 13th August 2009, 03:14 PM   #18
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Re: Insurance/liability issues with car accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clods View Post
Well, I have always called the police with any accident, no matter how small. I am sure its part of the insurance that you have to have the police incident number to give to the insurance company before they will process any claim. Even if you go to the police station after the event and report it, you still need to do it.
If it is an injury accident yes - you have to report it to the police.

If it is a minor accident there is no requirement to report it to the police. I've had 3 of those and there was no problem with the insurance company paying - once liability has been sorted out.

I would call the police in a minor accident if the other party seemed dodgy to me.
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