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Car Insurance legal query...

chrisgachrisga Posts: 587
edited September 2008 in The Crudcatcher
Ok, so there are 136520 registered users of this site, and I know its a longshot but does anyone on here have any knowledge or deal with motoring insurance as a job. I dont mean I need a quote, but am after some advice regarding an incident I had.

Here's the deal:

We were travelling back up the motorway (M5) the other day at night and a tanker lorry had an offside front tyre come off (almost intact and in one piece) while it was a few cars in front of us. The tyre struck a couple of cars and then us. I only saw the tyre literally at the very last second, there was nothing I could do about hitting it. Swerving was not an option as I was towing a trailer at the time and as it was bank holiday Monday night it was busy with traffic all around me. As I was towing and it was dark and busy I was not travelling too fast and was only doing 60mph.
So after we hit the tyre we pulled over and found that the tyre had done some damage to our car.

Highways agency officers were called to the scene as there was the lorry and 4 or 5 other cars on the hard shoulder and a rogue tyre somewhere in the carriageway. We exchanged details with the driver of the lorry from which the tyre came so everything was done above board and properly as far as we can see.

Now heres the rub: We have tried to claim against the lorry drivers insurance as the tyre originally came from his truck and ended up in the middle of the road. However, they are saying that as he was not at fault in "our" accident (i.e. he didnt cause me to hit the tyre) they hold no liability so are unable to pay out for the damage we have sustained. Also, in hindsight we gave our details to another of the drivers who's car was in a much worse state than ours and he said he would forward us an email but never did and we should have taken their details but in the heat of the moment didnt think that through properly so do not have any independant witnesses.

Who is correct, is it the truck drivers insurance company saying I should not have hit the tyre, or us for thinking that should be able to drive down a road without having inanimate objects put in fornt of us. I can sort of see that you should drive to the conditions of the road, i.e. if I skidded on mud it would be my fault for not reading the road properly, but would you expect there to be a tyre in the middle of your lane on a motorway?

Arghh, Im so cross right now, what do you gusy think - any thoughts welcome, it doesnt seem clear cut to me, I can see both sides of the story, but until his tyre detached itself from the lorry we had a fully functioning and roadworthy car.

What would anyone advise to do next, as I see it we can try to pursue the lorry's insurance company but it may take a long time. They have said we have to prove that there was a fault with the tyre which is impossible as we do not have the tyre and never even saw it. Surely equally they have to prove there was nothing wrong with it, and if there was nothing wrong with it why did it come off? Can we put a small claims court claim in against the lorry's owners not their insurance.

Any help appreciated..... Thanks in advance.

Posts

  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Ok i know F.all but what do YOUR Insurance company say? they should be the ones doing all the work to recover their cost of having your car repaired?


    Or am i missing something.

    PS there are a few in the Insurance game about this forum, but give it some time.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Not an expert but i don't know if there is much you could do besides arguing your case. and as above, talk to your insurance, not theirs....

    as the tyre came off as an accident, and didn't hit you because of careless driving/the lorry driver at fault, i'm pretty sure the insurance company will do as much as possible to get out of this one :(

    Unfortunatly it was an accident, and theres only a claim where there is blame :(

    Hope you manage to sort something out mate, insurance companies can be rite barstewards at times :(

    B
  • cjwcjw Posts: 1,889
    Now I've no great experience so take this with a huge pinch of salt, but the lorry driver's insurance is probably trying it on.

    Two years ago a guy went into the back of my car when I was stationery at a junction. Very slight damage to my car but his front was a mess. We exchanged details but I decided not to persue (didn't tell him that) as couldn't be bothered. A few weeks later I got a letter from his insurance company saying he held me responsible.

    My next move... onto my insurance company along with their letter and the pictures I had taken at the accident. My company then took over, fixed my car and claimed the excess back off of him. Obviously he didn't have a leg to stand on.

    So... I would advise going through your insurance company as they will fight it for you. The risk is that you lose your no claims.
    London to Paris Forum
    http://cjwoods.com/london2paris

    Scott Scale 10
    Focus Izalco Team
  • cjwcjw Posts: 1,889
    To add to the above... if you've written to them and not your insurance company (as we are all speculating) the insurance company will certainly try it on as they probably assume that you are not insured and will quietly go away!
    London to Paris Forum
    http://cjwoods.com/london2paris

    Scott Scale 10
    Focus Izalco Team
  • cjw wrote:
    To add to the above... if you've written to them and not your insurance company (as we are all speculating) the insurance company will certainly try it on as they probably assume that you are not insured and will quietly go away!
    very,very true
  • chrisgachrisga Posts: 587
    Cool thanks for the quick responses guys, we were trying not to go through our insurance company as we didnt think we were to blame but will give them a call in the morning, guess thats why you pay the legal expenses......
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    it does not matter who is to blame. your insurance company should do it all for you including the hire car while yours is being away fixed. (if you have the cover.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • yup, typically all you should need form the other drivers is a name, reg number and their insurance provider..

    then you hand it over to your own insurance :)
  • chrisgachrisga Posts: 587
    Ok seems it gets trickier, I just dug all our documents out, and I was driving my partners car at the time which is insured fully comp in her name, but I am not named on the insurance. However I have my own fully comp insurance for my car which has the standard thingy covering me (3rd party only isnt it) to drive other cars as long as they arent owned by me. I dont own her car so there is no problem there.

    Which insurance company should we ring, mine or hers?

    Cheers guys, any thoughts on this little development?
  • CraigXXLCraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    Not quite the same but last year a motorcyclist successfully claimed against the Insurance Ombudsman when he came of his bike on a patch diesel spilt by a wagon.Big news if you're a biker as loads of accidents are caused by diesel spillage. You should be able to claim on the same principle.

    HGV drivers are also responsible for the condition of their trucks including tyres. The tyres do not just explode for no reason the main culprit is under inflation which again is part of a drivers responsibilities. I'd suggest using your legal aid for more advice.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    dont bother you did not have any cover. other than for if you damaged someone else's property.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • The Northern MonkeyThe Northern Monkey Posts: 20,783
    edited September 2008
    nicklouse wrote:
    dont bother you did not have any cover. other than for if you damaged someone else's property.
    i'm sorry but thats not quite true.

    if the accident was his fault, then only the 3rd party would have been covered.. Therefore if the truck drivers insurance doesn't pay out, your insurance wont cover your own personal damage.

    as it wasn't his fault, and if the truck driver accepts liability, it should all be covered by the truck drivers insurance.

    i have the same 3rd party coverage on any car on my insurace. the only pre-requisite is that the car that is being driven must also be taxed, MOT'd and the owner of the car is fully insured on it.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    correct, my brain was taking a step forward with the issues the trucks insurance were putting up.

    But yes you need to contact your insurance company as that is the one that was covering you at the time.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • chrisgachrisga Posts: 587
    Ok cool, the car i was driving is my partners and she is fully comp on it and it was taxed and Mot'd properly at the time.
    She is a named driver on mine but as hers hadnt come up for renewal yet we hadnt bothered to add me as a named driver as I dont use it that often, apart from this night she asked if I could drive as she was too tired. Obviously i didnt see a problem at the time as we wanted to get home and were apparently not doing anything wrong. Kind of wishing I hadnt now though....
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,920
    No help to OP but in cjw's case if you go up the rear end of somebody they are to blame not the person you hit.

    Was they tyre complete with wheel? or just tyre? Years ago there was a spate of HGVs losing wheels and causing untold damage which is why most reputable transport operations have plastic yellow arrow things on the wheelnuts so a quick visual check is all thats needed to see if a nut has come loose.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • chrisgachrisga Posts: 587
    just the tyre this time, but not as in when the trailer wheels have blowouts and shred that I have seen before leaving chunks of rubber everywhere, this one came off practically in one piece. I think because it was front offside when it went down the driver steered to the left to counter it and so the tyre sort of ended up going in to the traffic on the right.
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    If the wheel/tyre hadn't come off the truck, then there would be no way you would have had your car damaged. That it did come off, how are they saying that you are to blame when they aren't? How is that you bear some responsibility for the damage done, by driving on the motorway in the first place?

    That it hit another car first and anything after that isn't their problem on the childish principle of who touched it last owns it?

    There is no doubt they are trying it on. The wheel falling off the truck is the start of their responsibility, with the consequences thereafter to its logical end, they cannot just draw a line at some arbitrary point and say nothing to do with us mate.

    Only way out is to talk to your insurer, that is what you pay premiums for. You shouldn't even have an increase in your premiums for claiming against it as the fault is the company that owns the truck.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • There is no doubt they are trying it on. The wheel falling off the truck is the start of their responsibility, with the consequences thereafter to its logical end, they cannot just draw a line at some arbitrary point and say nothing to do with us mate.

    I agree entirely. I had a similar issue last year when a flat top transit had some cones on the top that shouldn't have been there (Normal van...not one with a cab and a flat bed on the back with sides and a drop down at the back). One of the cones slid off and hit the front of my car, denting the grill and bonnet, and narrowly missing my windscreen at 70mph.

    The insurance company for the van wriggled out of it because it was late at night, and there was no independant witness. They claimed that the cone was one already in the road and the van clipped it and sent it flying into my car (still his fault if you ask me!!!!) It was definitely not may fault, but it's an example of how insurance companies try and squirm out of paying.
    You shouldn't even have an increase in your premiums for claiming against it as the fault is the company that owns the truck.

    Not true, unfortunately. If you have any incident, regardless of fault, an insurer will view you as more of a risk, so your premium will rise. Even if you don't loas your no claims bonus, the discount will be applied to the higher premium, thus your discounted premium will rise. It's a bit of a piss take, but that's the way it's done.

    When I had the repair quote for my BMW from the incident above, I checked to see the price if I claimed and it went up by nearly £200.
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    My premium increased when someone crashed into me a while back - totally their fault but apparently it means you are more likely to then have another crash!!

    The same car (mk4 Golf R32) was then vandalised twice (trying to nick the slightly bling 18" alloys but failing so bashed the car in) - my premium went up MORE than if I'd had six points on my license. Two no fault incidents, a HUGE increase in insurance and the claim stuck for three years as a black mark.

    Yes, I was hopping mad!
  • chrisgachrisga Posts: 587
    Thanks for the replies guys, it looks as if we are going to have to cough up for the repair bills, even though i contacted the highways agency whose stance is this:

    "In regards to your enquiry about debris. We are always told that if a driver runs into debris on the motorway and this is dropped by a third party the claimant will claim off the person or driver who was responsible for dropping the debris"

    The lorry drivers insurance company are playing up no doubt about it so i think we are going to try taking the haulage company to the small claims court for negligence or something to recover a bit of the cost. I'll let you know what happens.
  • I work for an insurance company and deal with motor claims. Our clients are haulage companies and their vehicles often have tyre blow outs or wheels coming off which is very similar to your accident. Then we receive a TP claim (like yours) but we then dispute liability on the basis that this was an unforeseen event, therefore our client could not have prevented this from happening and thus they have not been negligent. Thus no negligence, no liability can attach to our client. Then third party insurer (your insurer) returns to us and asks for service docs etc to show that our clients vehicle is properly maintained etc. We provide these docs to them from our client and usually the TP claim is dropped

    I know it doesnt sound fair!!
    "Second place is the first loser"
    Orange Five SE
    Orange P7 one
  • chrisgachrisga Posts: 587
    Yep,

    Thanks robbie, thats what is looking likely here as well and you're bang on it doesnt seem right at all. Someone else has had an incident that has caused us inconvenience and they manage to wiggle out of it. Does that mean if something fell off my car and caused damage to someone eses car I would not be liable eiether. So if the trailer I happened to be towing at the time came off the back of the car and someone else hit it, thats not my fault?.
    We may try and claim an ex-gratia compensation payment from the haulage company direct by going through the small claims court. Does that sound like a good idea or another non-starter. Basically I am banking that the small claims court often favours the "smaller man" against a larger organisation and that they may see the outcome our way and not from the insurance companies point of view. I am only really after a bit of cash to cover the bits I have had to buy to put on it to make the car roadworthy again.

    Thanks again Robbie.
  • Hi, Basically all HGV's should be services every 6 weeks and it is the HGV's insurers' responsibility and duty to prove to your insurers that their vehicle was serviced regulary.

    Which haulage company was it whose wheel came off? As i dont want it to be one of my clients! Let me know and then i will tell you what you should do! :D
    "Second place is the first loser"
    Orange Five SE
    Orange P7 one
  • chrisgachrisga Posts: 587
    Hi robbie. The truck was from a haulage company called Translact from Dorset. I did a google search and some not very nice stuff came up to be honest (I hope they arent one of yours).
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