Getting ripped off with claim

Discussion in 'Driving/Incidents/Roadrage' started by kusanku, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. kusanku

    kusanku Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I am about to get ripped off with an insurance claim.

    Last July, I was going straight ahead at a roundabout onto the M5, when a driver in the left hand lane cut into my lane, clearly not having checked his blind spot, and clipped the front wing of my car with the rear of his. At the time, we got out, exchanged details in a civilised manner, and he appologised for having caused the accident.

    I contacted my insurance company, Norwich Union, who were really difficult to get into action, and reported it, assuming it would be an undisputed case of hit by a third party. Quite some time later, I was informed that the third party was disputing liability, telling a complete pack of lies that I had changed lanes and collided with him. He was also trying it on with a personal injury claim, saying he now had neck and back pains.

    Things draggged on, and I made it quite clear that his account of the event was completely false. I have just received a phone call to say the decision has gone against me, and that I am considered 100% liable for the accident. This is supposedly based on the damage to both vehicles! Because his was damaged at the back and mine at the front, it has been classified as a rear-end shunt!!?!?

    I really cannot believe this, and I cannot understand how anyone can interpret the damage to the vehicles in this way. Norwich Union says my only option would be to go to court, but they do not recommend it because they do not think I have any evidence to back up my arguement.

    Any advice most welcome. I am absolutely furious about this. With the lack of an independant witness, I had expected it might be a 50/50, but this decision is outrageous. I have protected no claims, so that is not what bothers me. It is just the fact that scum-bags like this can drive so badly, tell a pack of lies, and simply get away with it.

    What would anybody else do in this situation? Should I go to court?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  2. Biscuit

    Biscuit Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I'm sure there are others who have been through exactly this situation but I'm afraid as your insurance company has intimated without external witnesses it's just the classic "his word against yours". not sure i'd gamble much on that outcome.

    sure if the damage is all on his side panels it would be obvious that he cut you up or at least that you came together whilst on a similar position on the road.

    only if the damage was to his rear would he contend that you shunted him... or am i missing something?
     
  3. kwakdonut

    kwakdonut Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Try the Insurance Ombudsman - you are disputing your insurance companies decision and they should be your first port of call, so to speak.

    Good luck
     
  4. OP
    OP
    kusanku

    kusanku Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Well, maybe I am missing something. None of this adds up. The damage was to the side panels of his car, but because he was cutting accross our lane, it was the front passenger side wing of my car and the the rear drivers side wing of his. All the damage was to the side panels of both cars, and both cars were doing only around 20mph, which is why I could never understand how he could be claiming he had whiplash.

    I am even starting to wonder if there is something else going on? There is no way the damage to these cars could be considered a rear-end shunt, so should I insist on seeing the pictures of his car to verify that what they have seen was actually the damage caused by this collision? At the time, I think there was a bit of a delay before he reported the accident, which made me suspiscious. His car was a pretty battered looking thiing anyway.

    NU also said that apart from the location of the damage, it was considered my fault for not keeping a safe distance:eek:

    So if you are driving in a straight line, and someone suddenly pulls into your lane, and you go into them (which as NOT what happened here btw), does that make you liable?

    I really do not understand this at all.
     
  5. Dryce

    Dryce MB Club Veteran

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    We've had a case where it should have been clear cut and the insurer tried to turn it into a 50:50. The other party backed out the day before the court case.

    The impression we had was that our insurer didn't really care. I don't think they made any effort to check the damage locations and circumstances in any detail before coming to a decision. They appeared to allow the other insurer to assert themselves. And they tried to persuade us to accept the 50:50 and not to go to court.

    I think this comes down to the damage pattern and your strength of will.

    I would be inclined to go over the details of the damage and circumstances and look at how you would present this to support your cause. Put yourself in the other party's position as well and consider how they might present it. If you can use a friend as an honest advocate against your position then that can help evaluate whether you are chasing a lost cause.

    If you feel you can make a strong case then push the insurance company as hard as you can - they do have a responsibility to represent you. Escalate the situation with the insurance company as at the bottom level their 'claims managers' will probably be pond life whose main role is to filter the workload to put in minimum cost/effort.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    kusanku

    kusanku Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have had the impression all along that NU could not be bothered. The chap on the phone said they have already tried to go for a 50/50, but the other insurance company rejected it, and demanded settlement within 21 days. Surely NU should have asked me first before going for a 50/50 settlement, as I have made it clear that I considered the third party 100% liable?
     
  7. kwakdonut

    kwakdonut Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have NEVER had insurance with NU - too many horror stories. I also try to avoid Admiral now too for the same reason.
     
  8. Spinal

    Spinal Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Do you have any pictures of the damage on the two vehicles?

    If so, fight it... What will probably happen is he either withdraws as soon as the notice is served, or just not turn up...

    If not, he may be trying to get some extra work done (or in a worst case, falsified the damage to his car to make you look at fault) - but you have no real way of proving this has happened, it's your word vs his. As unfair as this may seem, it's a lesson learnt (always carry a single-use camera in the glovebox)

    M.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    kusanku

    kusanku Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I understand exactly what you mean. When this first happened, I had a bad feeling about how NU were dealing with it, or not. I then looked up a load of online reviews of them, and was horrified by what I read. On one aggregate site, something like 87% of customer reviews were negative. Trouble was, I had to make a change to my policy last year, and suddenly found only 3 companies would insure me as a result.

    NU quoted £730, whereas the other two both quoted over £3000, which was approximately the value of the car at the time. Bizarrely, when I changed car to one worth five times that amount, my premium instantly reduced. The amount I saved by going with NU will outweigh the amount I lose as a result of this claim. That's not what bothers me, although NU will not get my business again. It is way this bloke who drove into me can get away with being so dishonest.
     
  10. kwakdonut

    kwakdonut Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I know, annoying isn't it?! Also, stupid that you can drive a car worth much more than a previous model yet watch your premium drop dramatically!
     
  11. timwood2000

    timwood2000 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    If you have legal protection cover, then you have nothing to lose. Insurance companies always try and get you to take the blame as it is quicker and less expense for them in the long run - they recoup it by putting up your premiums.

    On the two occassions that I have had no fault minor claims, my insurance both times tried to get me to agree to a 50:50 settlement. Both times I insisted going to court and both times I won. This is all about laziness on the part of the insurance companies.

    Going to court usually involves a meeting in a smallish room, not a High Court situation so don't be put off by that. Also, the insurance legal person will be about 16 years old and be totally useless so be prepared to present your own case.

    If you put forward a logical, sensible and explainable case, which yours sounds like, then I reckong you have a good case.

    And if you lose - then you are no worse off.

    Good luck.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    kusanku

    kusanku Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I always do carry a camera, but he moved his car before I had the chance to photograph the position of the cars. I did not think to just take a photo of the damage, although I now suspect he has indeed falsified the damage to his car, which was a battered old golf, probably worth a few hundred pounds. If he gets away with the whiplash claim, he will probably get several thousand pounds. I unfortunately know this, because that is exaclty what someonee I know did about 10 years ago, and no he did not really have whiplash either.

    There was actually another car that did pull up, and spoke to him, but then drove off before I had the chance to speak to the driver. I suspect she was offering to be a witness, but he probably told her it was not necessary as he was admitting liability. I am afraid this is now fitting together all too well. Of course, as he was being so polite and co-operative at the time of accident, I did not suspect anything.
     
  13. Beetnik

    Beetnik Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Aside from the legal requirement you take out insurance so that you have peace of mind - when something goes wrong, whether it's your fault or not, you're covered.

    Something has gone wrong and you're covered. You have protected no claims so, apart from the principles involved, it makes little difference to you as to where blame is apportioned. Insurance companies take a pragmatic view and settle accordingly, sometimes they'll win and sometimes they'll lose.

    You're covered, let them get on with it, chill and get on with more important things.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    kusanku

    kusanku Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I did actually go to court ten years ago, over a chap who rear-end shunted me, and then claimed I reversed into him. Yes it was straight-forwards, and the other chap did not turn up to represent himself, and I won. At the time though, I had a lot less money and a lot more free time on my hands. Now, I would consider it a lot more hassle. NU have said they will phone me on monday to find out what I want to do. Yes I do have legal protection cover.
     
  15. Marque

    Marque Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    One way to prevent this sort of thing is for us honest motorists to stop whenever we witness an accident and give our telephone number to the innocent party. There must have been several witnesses to your incident.

    I did this once when a big smash happened right in from of me late at night on an otherwise deserted London street. Actually, I gave both parties my name and telephone number. As I was doing this, the police turned up, but they left after ascertaining that nobody was injured. Later, I was contacted by the guilty party's insurer asking me to verify his claim that he was not at fault! I declined.

    The guilty party knew there was an independent witness, yet he obviously believed that he was not at fault! (He overtook me at high speed and then tried to pass the car in front too, which was turning right.) This is just a natural reaction to blame anyone else rather than oneself.

    One approach might be to tell the other party that you have some evidence that he admitted fault (e.g. a recording made on your mobile phone) and that if he repeats his claim in court, you will pass this evidence to the police in the hope that they will prosecute him for perjury! Whisper it in his ear just before your court hearing. ;)
     
  16. dougal74

    dougal74 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The damage is one thing and what they are saying is "on the balance of probabilities" you hit him from behind. Unless you have a witness to support your claim that he hit you, I can't see you winning based upon the damage alone (photos or not).

    Good luck with it if you go ahead and fight it.
     
  17. whitenemesis

    whitenemesis MB Club Veteran

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    Sorry to be the voice of doom here but if the damge was to the rear OS of his car and the NSF of yours what were you doing as he pulled across you?

    As you say you were only doing 20mph, could you not stop in time? Could you not have swung right and avoided him?

    The fact that the majority of his vehicle was in front of you does, unfortunately put you in a less favourable position (no pun intended).

    As others have said without independant witnesses, it's you word against his and the insurance company has to weigh the evidence on the damage sustained.
     
  18. Dryce

    Dryce MB Club Veteran

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    You're assuming that the insurance company is actually making a competent assessment.

    The aspect that annoyed us when we ended up going down the court route was that the insurance company was either being incompetent or just trying to close the file. Their approach was to try and actively persuade us that there was no point in going forward and that they'd looked at every angle and we'd be wasting our time.

    Lazy, shifty, and incompetent was our view at the time (it wasn't NU).
     
  19. Satch

    Satch Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Never make the mistake of assuming that an insurance company is on your side. Only concerned with limiting their own liabilty and yes, a lot of the claims are dealt with by people who really do not give a stuff.

    My own experience was that of being reversed into by an idiot who broke both headlights and caused significant amount of damage: about £1500.
    This then turned into being wholly my fault when a personal injury claim was made on behalf of a passenger in his car and yes, NU were going to cave in and pay.

    The person dealing with it from NU was a complete idiot, did not want to listen and clearly had not read the claim form, kept saying that I was obviously to blame because it was night and my lights were off. This tends to be the case when filling up with fuel at a motorway service area.

    Formal complaint was required to get it sorted. No hint of apology. Utterly useless.
     
  20. wemorgan

    wemorgan MB Club Veteran

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    The only rule of thumb I've heard of with accidents on roundabouts is, the car arriving first on the roundabout has priority. So even though the car infront of you was in the wrong by cutting into your lane, he still arrived first, unfortunatley for you.

    It's not fair to have such crude rules.....but it seems to be one the insurances companies use when there's doubt.
     
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