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    • Juicyfruit
    • By Juicyfruit 16th Mar 17, 10:24 AM
    • 3Posts
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    Juicyfruit
    Not negligent so no claim
    • #1
    • 16th Mar 17, 10:24 AM
    Not negligent so no claim 16th Mar 17 at 10:24 AM
    My son was in a car accident just over a year ago, where a man driving in the opposite direction hit 4 cars whilst having a heart attack. My son was driving the 2nd car and had a whiplash type injury to his spine. The other driver's insurance paid out for the damage to the cars fairly quickly, and my son's insurance company handed over the claim for personal injury to a solicitor. After very poor communication and a medical checkup, my son is still in pain and heard nothing from the solicitor for nearly 3 months. I contacted them and was told that they had sent him a letter 2 months ago saying that they have closed the claim as negligence cannot be proven. The man having the heart attack had no previous heart issues and therefore would not have known the risk when he got in his car to drive. This means he wasn't negligent, and it has taken so long to come to this decision as they were apparently being sensitive with his relatives (as the man died at the crash scene). My query over this is why does negligence have to be proven, as it was obvious that the crash happened, whose fault it was and that people were injured due to the crash. The insurance company paid quite quickly for my son's written off car, so where the blame lays was accepted for that, but why not for personal injury?
Page 1
    • martinsurrey
    • By martinsurrey 16th Mar 17, 10:45 AM
    • 2,714 Posts
    • 3,258 Thanks
    martinsurrey
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 17, 10:45 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 17, 10:45 AM
    The insurance company paid quite quickly for my son's written off car, so where the blame lays was accepted for that, but why not for personal injury?
    Originally posted by Juicyfruit
    The car insurance company have accepted liability for the accident, but not that negligence caused the accident.

    And that is key.

    Personal injury claims rely on negligence.

    https://www.apil.org.uk/accident-or-negligence
    • Juicyfruit
    • By Juicyfruit 16th Mar 17, 12:29 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Juicyfruit
    • #3
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:29 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:29 PM
    Thank you for your reply. It just seems wrong that it has been accepted that the man caused the accident, but personal injury won't pay out on an accident. I'm obviously upset that my son has been suffering pain due to this injury for over 12 months, it may never get much better and he is only 27 years old. I thank heavens that it wasn't more serious where he could have lost a limb or worse.
    • Aretnap
    • By Aretnap 16th Mar 17, 12:36 PM
    • 2,580 Posts
    • 2,041 Thanks
    Aretnap
    • #4
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:36 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:36 PM
    My query over this is why does negligence have to be proven, as it was obvious that the crash happened, whose fault it was and that people were injured due to the crash.
    Originally posted by Juicyfruit
    This is the crux: it's far from obvious whose fault it was - most likely it was nobody's fault.

    Fault has the same meaning as negligence - a failure to take reasonable care. Most car accidents are the result of negligence: mainly bad driving, or sometimes a failure to maintain the vehicle properly. However a small number could not have been prevented with any reasonable amount of care or foresight, and this sounds like one of them - the other driver could not have predicted that he was going to have a heart attack at the wheel, nor could he have realistically have avoided the accident once he did have a heart attack.

    As there's no blame on his part no liability attaches to him personally - and therefore his insurers (who are there to cover his liabilities) don't have to pay out to other victims of the accident either.

    It's unfortunate, but you son's in essentially the same position as if he'd been injured by a falling tree branch on a windy day - it was not his fault, but it was not anybody else's fault either, so there's nobody to claim against.

    If you want to pursue it further you could ask another solicitor for a second opinion... but this is the sort of case where making a claim is always likely to be an uphill struggle. Or you could try the non-legal route of contacting the local press/local MP etc in the hope of pressuring the insurance company to make an ex gratia payment to avoid bad publicity. But legally you options are limited.
    • Aretnap
    • By Aretnap 16th Mar 17, 12:41 PM
    • 2,580 Posts
    • 2,041 Thanks
    Aretnap
    • #5
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:41 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:41 PM
    The car insurance company have accepted liability for the accident, but not that negligence caused the accident.

    And that is key.

    Personal injury claims rely on negligence.
    Originally posted by martinsurrey
    Property damage claims rely on negligence as well - all third party claims for car accidents are ultimately based on the law of negligence.

    The other driver's insurance company would likely have been within their rights to refuse to pay for the damage to the other cars as well and allow everyone to claim on their own policies (if they had comprehensive cover - anyone with third party only cover would have been out of luck in that scenario).

    If it was a relatively small amount of money they might well have paid anyway, in order to avoid a potentially long and costly investigation and legal argument. However once larger personal injury claims start to appear they are more likely to think that the investigation and argument are worth having - hence the resistance to the injury side of the claims.
    • Juicyfruit
    • By Juicyfruit 16th Mar 17, 12:59 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Juicyfruit
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:59 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:59 PM
    My son's car was a write-off, as was the Mini in front. I believe the 3rd car had a glancing hit which threw the man back to his own side of the road where he clipped another, sending him back to my son's side where he hit a final car, trapping the lady driver inside. As you can tell, there were quite a few claims for other vehicles. It was an unfortunate accident for all involved, but I hadn't realised that we pay for negligence insurance rather than accident in case of personal injury. Thank you for your explanation.
    • maisie cat
    • By maisie cat 16th Mar 17, 1:04 PM
    • 148 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    maisie cat
    • #7
    • 16th Mar 17, 1:04 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Mar 17, 1:04 PM
    The man didn't cause the accident in the sense that he could not have foreseen his heart attack. Had he been diagnosed with heart problems and failed to take medical advice he would have been negligent. There is not always fault, sometimes an accident is just that. I do hope everybody injured gets well
    • FutureGirl
    • By FutureGirl 16th Mar 17, 6:56 PM
    • 686 Posts
    • 278 Thanks
    FutureGirl
    • #8
    • 16th Mar 17, 6:56 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Mar 17, 6:56 PM
    Personal injury comes under the law of tort, and you need to be able to prove the other driver was negligent as, if it went to court, this is what a judge would be looking at.
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