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Why can't my passenger (friend) by my witness in my accident?

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by AANDYY, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. AANDYY

    AANDYY Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I had a small bump about 2 weeks ago, a bus went into the back of me at about 5 mph. I was stationary. A few £100's of damage.
    The other side is disputing the claim saying I rolled back into the bus, the bus driver admited liability to me in person, no other witnesses, apart from my passenger (friend).
    Also what are the chances of me using the street CCTV (none I doubt!)?
     
  2. RobertoMercini

    RobertoMercini Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    if there is CCTV on the street in question then you can use it - i think under the freedom of information act you're entitled to see any footage that you think has been taken of you, be they stills or video

    Could be wrong
     
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  3. corned

    corned Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Have you officially been informed that your passenger's testament is worthless/invalid? No other bystanders available or came forward?

    I guess either the bus company are trying the time-honoured hard-ball approach, or the driver's job is at risk and he told you and them different stories...

    A quick enquiry in to the local council offices should find out if any CCTV footage is available.

    Hope you have some good luck with this.
     
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  4. Ethem

    Ethem New Member

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    conflict of interest if you use the passenger that's why they don't really like to accept a passenger...
     
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  5. davethemus

    davethemus Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    you can get the cctv footage, think you have to pay a £15 fee though, you could lump that in with your costs. The onus of proof should be on the other guy though, I thought that if your rear-ended then by default it's the person behind who is to blame unless they can prove otherwise.
     
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  6. Benzowner

    Benzowner Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Standard defence by any national organisation. Had an army vehicle run into the back of me when payning at the severn bridge tolls. I was stationary, obviously, pre bin days and certainly long before second severn crossing. They held me responsible for the accident. Leave it to your insurance company, but tell them to keep you informed as you don't want an at fault claim on your insurance. You probably pay legal protection so let them sort it.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    AANDYY

    AANDYY Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    An accident management company is dealing with me for my insurance company, they have told me my passenger is not valid as a witness :doh:, very annoying if this is so.

    No other witnesses :(.

    This is my first accident in 26 yrs of driving, so it's all new to me this stuff.


    Forgot to say thanks so far for the quick replies.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  8. MOCAŠ

    MOCAŠ Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Sorry to hear about this.

    The reason your passenger can't be a witness is because technically they were involved in the accident, so cannot be deemed independent. Obviously the point of the witness statement is to corroborate your version of events, so the fact that they're a friend of yours could be challenged. Moreover, they could potentially submit a personal injury claim themselves (however unlikely that may be in this case), so that could also affect their credibility as a witness.

    With regard to the bus company's version of events, is the damage inflicted on either vehicle commensurate with your car having simply rolled back? I'd have thought the afternath of 5mph impact would have been somewhat greater.
     
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  9. camerafodder

    camerafodder Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I cant see why your passenger is not valid as a witness. Sounds like smoke and mirrors to me. I suspect if you push harder they will see sense. ;)
     
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  10. Pontoneer

    Pontoneer Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Absolute rubbish ! it does not matter if the witness is a passenger , your mother , brother or whatever : they were there and saw what happened .

    Their testimony will be perfectly valid if the matter goes to court .

    Any passengers on the bus could equally have been asked to bear witness .

    You are the customer - if the company will not listen to your information - sack them and deal directly with your insurer .
     
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  11. flango

    flango Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Just talked to SWMBO and it would appear your accident management company may be talking out of their backside, which is not unusual. Here is the official legal guidance.

    "The passenger in a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) is a valid witness but should the incident result in a court appearance then their evidence would probably be viewed below that of a fully independent witness but it would still contribute to the case and is valid."

    "Under the Data Protection Act revision of 2008, you have access to any cctv footage that you think may be relevant to your case, not only do you have the right to view it you also have the right to a copy of it "

    You need to apply to the council concerned which will cost you around £10 and you will have to give the data controller the exact day and time of the accident so you get only the footage that affects you. They have to comply with your request within 40 days.There also may be a charge for footage provided.

    The main reason for lawyers not wanting to use a passenger as a witness is the relationship between them and the driver, particularly with all these staged "accident" scams that are taking place these days. It becomes a question of credibility if it goes to court but a good lawyer wouldn't have a problem with it in the absence of CCTV footage or independent witnesses.

    Good luck and if you need anything further we can help with just shout.
     
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  12. Stratman

    Stratman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Is your car an auto? If it is, it would be interesting to hear how it rolled backwards as you were holding it on the brakes ;)
     
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  13. PJH

    PJH Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I don't believe a passenger can be a witness because you could have agreed to concoct a story of what happened.
    Whenever I've had a knock I've been asked if there were any independent witnesses.
    Never ended up in court........
     
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  14. martin_a

    martin_a Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I've used a passenger as a witness before (accident with a bus as it happens) surprisingly, they used passengers as witnesses too... I won.

    Note that most buses these days have CCTV on board and one camera specifically covering the driver in case they are robbed. Get your legal beagles to check this out as it would show whether the vehicle was moving or not.

    YouTube - CCTV footage of bus driver attack

    m.
     
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  15. lil.smartie

    lil.smartie Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hope it's not 'countrywide accident assistance' if it is tell your insurance co they are the ones you pay and they are the ones you want to deal with it! After 14 weeks, and counting, CAA are going to be coughing up a fair chunk of money for my time if/when I ever get my car back!

    Kate
     
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  16. crockers

    crockers Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I was thinking the same. :thumb:
     
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  17. The mallard

    The mallard Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Bit of a long shot but if the rear lights were broken and you had your foot on the footbrake then you could have the brake light bulb filaments forensically examined. When they break the glass fragments hit the white hot filament and fuse into them which would prove your brakes were on at impact therefore you were probably stationary.

    This is a common examination after serious accidents.

    Also, ANYONE can be a witness. But their evidence may not carry as much weight as they could be shown to not be impartial.

    YOU are a witness, as is the bus driver, but also involved
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
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  18. damian9128

    damian9128 Active Member

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    Another spot-on comment from flanaia1.

    Most modern busses are equipped with CCTV covering the exterior (front & rear) and interior (door, driver area & passenger seating areas).

    What i would do in this situation is instruct the accident management company to draft a letter to the effect that the bus company provide copies of the cctv within 21 days or you will instruct a firm of solicitors on a 'conditional fee agreement' to make an application to the court for 'pre-action disclosure' of any CCTV footage.

    A conditional fee agreement is a funding arrangement whereby a solicitor will deal with a matter (in this case simply the application, not the entire claim) on the basis that he will only be entitled to costs if the application is successful. In return for the risk taken in that they may not get paid, the solicitor will also be entitled to a 'success fee' which is a percentage uplift on the costs.

    If successful in making the application; the solicitor will be able to claim thier entire costs for dealing with the application from the bus company. The solicitor would be successful on the basis that you have made a reasonable request for the footage which would be essential in establishing liability.

    If your entire claim is only for vehicle damages (and not injury) then your claim would fall into the remit of the 'Small Claims Track' whereby a solicitors recoverable costs are so limited that it is very unlikely that anyone would act for you. However this does not apply to applications.

    It is very likely that the threat of the application will force the bus company to forward the CCTV asap.

    If for whatever reason they don't, contact a local firm of solicitors and instruct them correspond with your accident management company to make the application. Your local firm should be more than willing to assist at no charge to you as this is easy money for them.

    (...and if your local firm can't help drop me a pm! ;) )

    In relation to the passenger; as flanaia1 rightly states he can of course give witness evidence to support your case. However as the witness's independence is questionable the weight given to the statement would be negligible. That said, should your claim reach trial that could be enough to allow the court to find in your favour.


    Damian
     
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  19. OP
    OP
    AANDYY

    AANDYY Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thank you Damian for your offer.
    The AMC is asking for the buses CCTV but I suspect it will have been 'faulty' on that day but if I had rolled back into the bus then the CCTV footage would have not been 'faulty'.
    I've also asked for the street CCTV to be viewed and the camera was not pointing in my direction at the time of the incident :mad:, 2 minutes after it was, good old CCTV! Not the first time I've heard of this occurrence.
     
  20. wigs_1

    wigs_1 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    +1. My car will hold itself on some pretty steep hills without a foot on the brakes and without rolling back!
     
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