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  • FIRST POST
    • needaname15
    • By needaname15 13th Mar 17, 8:36 PM
    • 24Posts
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    needaname15
    Car Accident - Small Claims Court
    • #1
    • 13th Mar 17, 8:36 PM
    Car Accident - Small Claims Court 13th Mar 17 at 8:36 PM
    Hi all,

    I am due to attend small claims court soon over a car accident that happened almost two years ago now.

    Long story short both myself and the third party dispute liability, it has been dragged out for a very long time by the third party taking the longest time possible to reply to any correspondence. This is all going through the insurer, I have not pursued this court claim independently. I have not paid any fees or incurred any costs, I am simply hoping for my excess and premiums to be refunded if I win the case.

    Basically I was travelling in the left only lane approaching a roundabout, the third party was tailgating a car in the middle lane (also left turning), third party becomes impatient and violently swerves into my lane and slams their brakes on right near the give way at the roundabout. I collided with the back of the third party vehicle as I had literally no time to react. There was no reason to come into my lane, they could have turned off in their lane however clearly wanted to jump in front.

    Initially when the court preceding started the third party offered to settle 50/50, however I rejected this and continued to stand my ground. We exchanged witness statements the other week and the third party admits that they changed lanes and also states that they are not sure they if indicated or not when doing so. Their statement is very fluffy and includes a lot of 'not sure' and 'I think'. However, they are blaming me saying I admitted guilt at the scene and failed to stop in time. I did not admit guilt at the scene, but I was very concerned for their welfare as they kept walking into the road and acting very odd.

    I also have photographic evidence of the third party standing barefoot outside their vehicle straight after the collision. I understand that this is not illegal, however it is illegal not to be in proper control of a vehicle and I would argue driving barefoot is not very responsible and contributed to their irratic driving.

    What sort of chance do I stand at small claims court? I'm worried the judge is just going to say you drove into the back of the third party therefore it is my fault. I literally had no time to react and could not predict such an irrational maneuver in time to avoid a collision.

    Thanks in advance
Page 2
    • needaname15
    • By needaname15 13th Mar 17, 9:42 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    needaname15
    So your insurance premium will increase accordingly.

    Have you really been "fighting" this for two years?
    Originally posted by Moneyineptitude
    Yes it would, although it has been down as a fault for the past two years anyway.

    I understand there would be costs in that sense, lost excess and premiums etc.
    • needaname15
    • By needaname15 13th Mar 17, 10:34 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    needaname15
    I also found the email from the solicitor as requested regarding costs:

    "This is a private civil matter and is strictly confidential. Any claim will not have an impact on anything other than your insurance.

    This dispute is between two peoples genuine opinions, the civil court is here to rule on which is more likely based on the evidence provided, in order to establish liability.

    Worst case scenario, should you lose at a hearing your insurer will cover the cost of the third party claims (if any) and the claim would go as a fault claim on your insurance.

    The only way this would escalate any further, would be if you were fraudulently making the claim."
    Last edited by MSE ForumTeam3; 14-03-2017 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Quoting deleted post
    • Crazy Jamie
    • By Crazy Jamie 13th Mar 17, 11:38 PM
    • 2,072 Posts
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    Crazy Jamie
    What sort of chance do I stand at small claims court? I'm worried the judge is just going to say you drove into the back of the third party therefore it is my fault. I literally had no time to react and could not predict such an irrational maneuver in time to avoid a collision.
    Originally posted by needaname15
    No one can really tell you what sort of chance you stand without seeing the trial bundle and witness statements. Even then, any assessment of your prospects would struggle to be specific. Statistically most rear end shunts are the fault of the vehicle behind, but there are situations where the reverse is true. On your case this could certainly be one of them, and your insurance company clearly thinks that you have a decent enough chance of winning because otherwise they wouldn't have pushed the case this far. Certainly the points that you've highlighted regarding the other driver's witness statement suggest to some extent that there may be weaknesses in their case. Ultimately though it comes down to the view that the Judge forms of you and the other driver on the day. It's just a matter of going to court, doing your best with the question that you are asked, and hoping that the Judge finds in your favour.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
    I'M MISSING FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS WILL KILL THEMSELVES."
    • Retrogamer
    • By Retrogamer 14th Mar 17, 12:16 AM
    • 3,579 Posts
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    Retrogamer
    I'm not sure what your chances are in court, but personally i wouldn't mention the bare feet thing.
    • Strider590
    • By Strider590 14th Mar 17, 12:57 AM
    • 10,900 Posts
    • 6,062 Thanks
    Strider590
    Agree with above, the bare feet thing stinks of just stacking emotional nitpicking on top of the facts.
    Having the last word isn't the same as being right.......

    "Never confuse education with intelligence"
    • debtdebt
    • By debtdebt 14th Mar 17, 1:08 AM
    • 72 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    debtdebt
    Are you the Claimant or Defendant in the action?

    Anyway, you've got nothing to lose. Be relaxed, stay calm and keep your answers to any questions clear and concise.
    • Nodding Donkey
    • By Nodding Donkey 14th Mar 17, 6:20 AM
    • 2,284 Posts
    • 1,886 Thanks
    Nodding Donkey
    I'd say that if they have admitted changing lanes it should be a slam dunk for you.

    And get yourself a dashcam.
    • angrycrow
    • By angrycrow 14th Mar 17, 6:28 AM
    • 227 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    angrycrow
    Sounds like you have a very strong case, stick to the facts with no waffle and be polite to the judge. Wearing a suit or very smart business wear also makes the right impression.
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 14th Mar 17, 7:32 AM
    • 1,792 Posts
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    DoaM
    Just to clarify ... did YOU engage a solicitor to fight this, or did your INSURANCE COMPANY do so?
    Diary of a madman
    Walk the line again today
    Entries of confusion
    Dear diary, I'm here to stay
    • needaname15
    • By needaname15 14th Mar 17, 7:39 AM
    • 24 Posts
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    needaname15
    I am the claimant. Taken advice on board regarding the barefoot driving, the defendant is still pictured barefoot however as they were stood next to their car while I took the pictures of damage caused.

    In the defendants witness statement, they state that cannot remember when they changed lanes, whether they indicated or not and they do not remember their speed.

    They are basically trying to make out like they were sat giving way at the roundabout and I plowed into the back of them. I felt like the whole thing could have been a scam and the third party actually had a personal injury claim refused and defended against/dropped. No idea why it was refused but I got the impression it was a ridiculous claim.

    And yes I brought a dashcam straight after this happened and have had it running ever since.
    • needaname15
    • By needaname15 14th Mar 17, 7:41 AM
    • 24 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    needaname15
    Just to clarify ... did YOU engage a solicitor to fight this, or did your INSURANCE COMPANY do so?
    Originally posted by DoaM
    My insurance company did. I just said I refuse to accept liability, they passed it onto their solicitor.
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 14th Mar 17, 8:11 AM
    • 1,792 Posts
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    DoaM
    I'm surprised they didn't just go 50:50 between the insurance companies. As far as I'm aware they have the authority to do so - they don't need either insured party's permission - per typical insurance T&Cs. Your refusal to accept liability shouldn't have forced them into a court case, so I guess they must feel there is a reasonable chance of success.

    (Insurance companies avoid court if at all possible - to easy for costs to rack up - unless they're confident).
    Diary of a madman
    Walk the line again today
    Entries of confusion
    Dear diary, I'm here to stay
    • needaname15
    • By needaname15 14th Mar 17, 9:07 AM
    • 24 Posts
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    needaname15
    I'm surprised they didn't just go 50:50 between the insurance companies. As far as I'm aware they have the authority to do so - they don't need either insured party's permission - per typical insurance T&Cs. Your refusal to accept liability shouldn't have forced them into a court case, so I guess they must feel there is a reasonable chance of success.

    (Insurance companies avoid court if at all possible - to easy for costs to rack up - unless they're confident).
    Originally posted by DoaM
    They told me I had a strong case and they wanted to back it. A 50/50 was offered from the third party side but it was refused by my side.

    I guess we will see, although everyone keeps saying I drove into the back of the other car therefore I have no chance. Very different advice than what I got from the solicitor and insurer.
    • Polmop
    • By Polmop 14th Mar 17, 9:12 AM
    • 526 Posts
    • 743 Thanks
    Polmop
    If your insurance company think it is worth going to court then do it. They will think you have a good chance or they would have settled
    Good Luck
    • Moneyineptitude
    • By Moneyineptitude 14th Mar 17, 10:26 AM
    • 18,124 Posts
    • 8,437 Thanks
    Moneyineptitude
    the defendant is still pictured barefoot
    Originally posted by needaname15
    If he turns up barefoot to court then you'll definitely win
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 14th Mar 17, 12:24 PM
    • 1,740 Posts
    • 1,082 Thanks
    Car 54
    Sorry for my naivety but why not? I am just meant to roll over and accept liability for something I did not do?

    So okay say I listen, what would you advise I do now? Cancel the court appearance and accept liability?

    Sorry if this comes across short, just been very stressful with a lot going on in other parts of my life.
    Originally posted by needaname15
    I doubt whether you have the option of cancelling. Your insurance contract almost certainly gives the insurer the right to make or defend claims in your name.
    • pimento
    • By pimento 14th Mar 17, 12:26 PM
    • 5,053 Posts
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    pimento
    What a great advertisement for a dash cam.
    "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." -- Red Adair
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 14th Mar 17, 12:49 PM
    • 3,916 Posts
    • 2,149 Thanks
    Nasqueron
    OP do you have a witness (e.g. the car he was tailgating) or was it just your word against his?

    It sounds horrible, I can understand that running into the back of a car that has stopped or is slowing is generally against the car behind but in the case where someone swerves into your lane and immediately brakes, how can that be the fault of the innocent party behind given they had space to slow to the line and were doing so, only to have a car appear in front of them with no time to react?
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 14th Mar 17, 1:44 PM
    • 1,792 Posts
    • 1,678 Thanks
    DoaM
    I remember a thread here last year where a poster mentioned that his son had been involved in an incident. Son was in RH lane, 3P (3rd party) was in LH lane.

    The lanes "jinked" (diverted) left then right and went straight on. Son followed the lane, 3P went straight on and collided with son. 3P was entirely at fault but (I believe) it ended up 50:50 as 3P claimed son moved across into her lane without warning, and also claimed the collision happened on a different part of the road. As there were no independent witnesses it was he said/she said.
    Diary of a madman
    Walk the line again today
    Entries of confusion
    Dear diary, I'm here to stay
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