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Thread: Reversing accident - split liability?

  1. #1
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    Sep 2008
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    Default Reversing accident - split liability?

    My wife had an accident in a supermarket car park, she was reversing out of a parking space and a stationary car then started reversing and clipped her back end.

    We had an independent witness statement saying that my wife was already moving before the other vehicle started to move and struck her.

    The insurance company are now saying that it looks likely that we will have to split the liability as both parties were reversing.

    Is that correct? It feels really unfair and I just didn't think it could be that cut and dried.

    Any comments gratefully received!

  2. #2
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    Oct 2008
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    Default Actually

    I believe it was your fault, since you were reversing out of the parking space.

    As its you who has to stop for traffic.

    Altho i'm not sure

  3. #3
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    Default

    But in that situation, the OP's wife was the traffic - she was the one moving while the other one had been stationery. In my opinion, the other car should have seen the OP's wife already moving and waited for her as she had become the traffic that you are referring to, and so had the priority over stationery parked cars.

    As has been stated by others before, car park accidents are sometimes treated differently because there is obviously reduced visibility when you are reversing out of a space with other cars blocking the view, and although you have thoroughly checked before reversing, you are still gambling to an extent: relying on the stationery cars seeing you and not moving into your path while you're already moving. I would say it's definitely more the other driver's fault than your wife's.

  4. #4
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    Default

    If you have an independent witness, (who I assume has given a statement to your wife's insurance company?) I would be asking your wife's insurance company why they seem so willing to treat the claim in this way. Is there something they aren't being told?

  5. #5
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    Sep 2008
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    Default

    Thanksfor the responses. I have questioned the insurance company (Elephant) and they stuck to their guns that it was "a car park accident, reversing cars, split liability".

    The point of the post was my frustration at what I perceived to be lazy insurance work, the girl I spoke to didnt even have access to the independent witness statements!

    We are almost 4 months down the line and no progress, not at all impressed with Elephant or their service!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisjkelly View Post
    We are almost 4 months down the line and no progress, not at all impressed with Elephant or their service!
    Sadly I don't think it's unique to one insurance company - it's car insurance companies in general in my opinion. I have heard/read hundreds of similar experiences and it beggars belief that the people working there have so little common sense, rational thinking or sympathy with innocent drivers.

    What bugs me is that they don't seem to realise that every accident is unique; no two accidents are ever exactly the same. E.g. it's "always" one driver's fault when two cars end up in a certain position such as a rear-end shunt, roundabout collision or car-park scrape. This is simply not the case, there are often other important circumstances that have had an effect on the situation.

  7. #7
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    Default Insurance Claims

    All pretty much besides the point - unless you have independent witness[s], as Rolebama say, you might as well whistle into the wind.

    You certainly won't like it but in the absense of witness[s] it is after all only one person's word against another, and the main objective of the exercise (from the insurer's point of view) is to do as little as possible and to pay out as little as possible, which is why they will agree to a "knock-for-knock" settlement!

    Otherwise even damage-only claims can sometimes take 2 or 3 years to settle, so you've a long way to go yet!

  8. #8
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    Default From an insurance worker

    Quote Originally Posted by 98selitb View Post
    Sadly I don't think it's unique to one insurance company - it's car insurance companies in general in my opinion. I have heard/read hundreds of similar experiences and it beggars belief that the people working there have so little common sense, rational thinking or sympathy with innocent drivers.

    What bugs me is that they don't seem to realise that every accident is unique; no two accidents are ever exactly the same. E.g. it's "always" one driver's fault when two cars end up in a certain position such as a rear-end shunt, roundabout collision or car-park scrape. This is simply not the case, there are often other important circumstances that have had an effect on the situation.
    As one of these irrational, unsympathetic and senseless insurance workers myself I do sympathise with your plight. However, it makes very little actual difference who started moving first when two cars reverse in to each other. It is of paramount importance when reversing that each driver is fully aware of their surroundings. The other driver may have checked behind them and seen that their way back was clear and started moving and then your wife reversed in to their path. They may not have been able to see that there was a car moving when they too started moving.
    While I agree that "common sense" would indicate that liability would lie more with the other driver, liability decisions are not based on some random sense of "justice," they are simply based on what could be proven if the case went to court. And no insurance company is going to hire solicitors and possibly barristers to fight over a few hundred pounds worth of damage from a claim which when it gets to litigation will be split liability anyway.
    Insurance workers do deal with thousands of claims like this per week and it is terrible that your handler couldn't take time to make soothing sounds to you about this travesty of justice but unfortunately they probably had 100 other claims to deal with where there was serious damage and possibly injuries to deal with. If the damage is minor your premium will barely be affected. If you are very unhappy ask your insurer to protect your NCB so this accident does not affect your policy next year. Some companies will do this, others will not.
    And if you are still unhappy - get reversing / parking sensors (I believe JML have a version you can fit yourself!) or leave your insurance company if they appear rude to you or your wife. Policyholders have the right to be unhappy when a liability decision is made which they disagree with but the customer advisor should always be friendly and polite when giving the bad news.

  9. #9
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    Default the uniqueness of accidents

    Quote Originally Posted by 98selitb View Post

    What bugs me is that they don't seem to realise that every accident is unique; no two accidents are ever exactly the same. E.g. it's "always" one driver's fault when two cars end up in a certain position such as a rear-end shunt, roundabout collision or car-park scrape. This is simply not the case, there are often other important circumstances that have had an effect on the situation.
    Speaking again as soemone who decides liability in insurance claims I'm afraid you are incorrect in this matter Chris.
    While obviously every accident is different a rear-end is a rear end. If you go into the back of the car in front it is always 100% your fault. It is up to you to be driving a safe ditance behind the car ahead to allow you to perform an emergency stop. This is as incontrovertible a law as gravity, I'm afraid. If you pull out halfway across the road and end up getting hit while you are out there even if you say an oncoming car was overtaking illegally at that junction then it will stll be your fault as you should have sat back and waiting for ALL oncoming traffic to pass before moving out on to the road.
    The mistake you and other people on this forum are making is that they feel judged by their insurance company as if we are telling you all that you are bad drivers. Your insurance company is not saying this at all, we understand that every accident is different and how easy it is to make a mistake like a rear-end or being hit while on a roundabout but there are over-riding laws for use of the road. The insurance company will refer to these and to their vast experience of previous cases when making liability decisions. And again - they will not fight a case all the way to court if they feel there is a chance they will lose the case or end up just splitting liability. That would be a colossal waste of money on solicitors and court fees. So when ytou are hit on the right hand side of your vehicle by a car that was alreadsy on the roundabout when you moved off - its your fault, when you rear end a car - its your fault; when you pull out of a side road and are hit by an oncoming car - it is your fault. Sorry. Dems da facts.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Martybo View Post
    If you go into the back of the car in front it is always 100% your fault. It is up to you to be driving a safe ditance behind the car ahead to allow you to perform an emergency stop.
    There was a recent documentary on TV about a car insurance fraud involving rear-end shunts. It works as follows:

    You are following a car at a safe distance along a road. You are in an area that is flat and rural and you can see for a long distance in every direction. You approach a roundabout. As I said, you can see clearly in all directions. There are no other cars anywhere near the roundabout in any direction except the car that you're following. The car you're following indicates he is going straight on, and so are you. You and the car in front both reduce speed accordingly to go round the roundabout, but not drastically because it is plain to see that there is no other traffic. All of a sudden, the car in front does an emergency stop for no reason. The brake lights of the car in front do not come on because the driver has deliberately disactivated them. You hit the car in front. Along comes the insurance and it is deemed your fault and you lose all those years of safe driving and face a whopping great premium upon renewal.

    Apparently there is a gang in north-west England that is doing this, but some of these criminals have been caught - in these incidences, the driver who has hit the car from behind has been fully refunded and the accident has been deemed to be NOT their fault.

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