Fatal RTC and Insurance problems
I was unfortunate to be involved in a fatal collision early last week and the repercussions are huge...
Briefly, I was driving carefully along a main road, in sunny and dry weather conditions, well under the speed limit, in a well-maintained vehicle, when a car suddenly emerged into my path from a side road. I had seen the car waiting at the give way sign a few seconds before I passed the junction. I can only assume the other driver's feet slipped, or perhaps he didn't see me. He was very, very elderly and wasn't wearing a seat belt. Witnesses at the scene certainly implied I wasn't going fast and there was nothing I could have done to prevent a collision.
The older gentleman obviously came off worse in the crash, and he sadly died a few days later. I contacted my insurers who have tried to get his insurers to accept liability. They haven't even assigned a claims handler to the third party's case, and are stalling saying that they will wait until full Police reports are available. Because of the nature of the case these may take over a month to compile. My car was badly affected and may be a write-off, but until the forensics are completed it can't be released.
Clearly, we all have to wait until the proper due process of investigation is complete, but in the meantime I am without transport, and life - for me at least - goes on. I don't have legal cover or courtesy car hire on my policy. My insurers have advised that this claim may take some time and have asked me to carefully record all out of pocket expenses for uninsured losses. What's the best way to get moving again? Shall I use a claims management company to fight for a hire car which I might need for many weeks until the case is resolved, or shall I trust that my insurers will look after me? I don't want to ramp up everybody's insurance by using the services of an accident management company unnecessarily, but I need transport now. I live in a remote area and my job requires a car for travelling between bases (I have business cover) insurance. Is there any point in contacting the third party's insurers for assistance, or will I be fobbed off by someone from a remote call centre?
This is the first ever crash I've had in 30 years motoring and I just want to get transport and minimise the hassle and cost to all parties involved, to be fair.
Any comments appreciated!
Sorry to hear of your experience.
You could hire a car at your own expense and claim the cost back when the issue is resolved. It does count as an uninsured loss.
Firstly, I am sorry to hear about your experience. As someone who has been involved in the investigation of fatal crashes for over 30 years, I can understand what you are going through as I have seen it many times.
Whatever you do, do not use a claims management firm, it will cost you a fortune and you could end up in dire straights given the way the courts are dealing with hire vehicle costs in crash cases at the moment. They are also unregulated to a degree, and they will see your case as a means to sell it on for a very high referral fee which at the moment is still legal.
Firstly, were you injured at all? If you sustained injury as a result of the crash, then you can get free legal representation under a no win no fee agreement (Conditional Fee agreement to give it its proper name) and all your losses can be claimed for, although it will be a long drawn out process for a number of reasons.
There will be a full accident investigation, and a file will be prepared for the Coroners court.
The inquest will already have been opened for identification purposes, and then adjourned pending the completion of the investigation which may take several months, especially if the the other driver is prosecuted for any offences.
The solicitors and insurers will not be able to do much until the Police file is closed after the inquest and/or prosecution, and then it can take several more months after the insurers/solicitors have paid the fee to obtain a copy of the file.
Possibly the best bet is to buy (if you can afford to) a cheap runaround until the matter is resolved. Based on what you have said, liability should not be an issue, however, until the Police investigation is complete which will also include a forensic investigation and all the major issues have been answered and resolved, you would be unwise to go down the hire car route. However the purchase of a cheap run around could be claimed for quite easily as you have shown that you have attempted to mitigate your losses, and you will still be able to claim for the car you lost.
Hope that this is of some help to you, but feel free to PM me if I can be of further help either with procedure or the claims process
Thanks for the replies, and in particular to TC1474.
This is just the advice I am after, as I do not want to escalate costs unnecessarily.
Luckily, I don't think I suffered any lasting injuries, just a sore face from the airbags going off, and a little stiffness now and then - probably oldage anyway!
What was concerning me was that the car is on finance, and the thought of paying out for it over several months without the use of it is a worry. I did take out GAP insurance, so that should be covered should the insurers write it off and offer a low payout.
I think the idea of a cheap runaround in the meantime is the most sensible option, as it shows I have mitigated my expenses to the minimum.
I'm based in Scotland, where we have a different legal system, which I think uses the Procurator Fiscal to review any fatal accidents. I'm assuming I will be called as a witness?
Given the extent of your injuries, the chances are that unless a solicitor can show that the value of the claim is worth at least £1,000 they will not be able to take it on anyway, as claims under £1,000 means that they cannot claim back their costs.
Originally Posted by Mellowman
You are right in that the systen in Scotland is slightly different to that in England and Wales, but the procedures are pretty similar.
Your insurers should be on the ball with this one by the very nature of the type of crash that it is, and whilst I sympathise that the car is on finance, you will still be able to claim for those payments you make as yu have lost the use of said vehicle but are still required to pay for it, particulalry if the GAP insurance does not cover any shortfall.
It is one of those types of crashes where I am afraid patience is the name of the game, and whilst it may be inconvenient, this is one type of case that cannot be rushed, mainly because of the fact that there will be an inquest, and nobody dictates to the Coroner to get a move on
Welcome to the site Mellowman, sorry to hear about your accident, It seems that every time there is a fatality at a crash scene, the legal side of things seem to drag on a lot longer, than it does for less serious ones, and they can take ages as well?
In some cases they can go on for months, I remember being called as a witness to a fatal RTA when I was in the ambulance service. This was about seven months after the accident! It was just as well that I took notes at the time, as it is so easy to forget what could be very important evidence?
You're right. Whereas in England a Coroner's inquest is always held, in Scotland the PF investigates and decides whether or not a Fatal Accident Inquiry is required. If an FAI does take place, it is conducted by a Sheriff without a jury.
Originally Posted by Mellowman
Thanks again for the helpful replies.
As I said, I wanted to check whether accident management companies help or hinder a claim, and the likely length of this one means it could get to silly money if I did use them, and someone has to pay for it all...
I've now found an old small car which'll do me for however long it takes for matters to be resolved.
As folk have said, there is a legal process that can't be rushed, and I just have to fit in with it.