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Sued for a car accident out of the blue after months

edited 15 May 2019 at 5:17PM in Insurance & Life Assurance
14 replies 1.4K views
phloawphloaw Forumite
29 posts
Second Anniversary 10 Posts
edited 15 May 2019 at 5:17PM in Insurance & Life Assurance
Hi.
I live in Scotland, where my father, who lives in another EU country, hired a car to visit me in October, and had a small accident: the other car entered the roundabout we were in and slightly touched the back of ours.

Since the outcome was just a bump on both bodyworks, the police was not called, we exchanged contact details with the other party, and we informed the car hiring company of the event.

The same day the other party's insurer called us to know the details of our insurance, which we didn't have at hand: we therefore agreed that he would have called us back, to know them; which he never did.

After that, we never heard anything, we just paid the repairs (around 300 gbp, well below the excess threshold) to the car hiring company, and got refunded by our own third party excess insurance.

Yesterday (so after about **seven months**), my father received, at his place outside UK, with surprise and disappointment, a thick documentation from which I understand **he is being sued**, due to alleged health consequences the other party suffered (which is ridiculous, but maybe this doesn't matter now).

Alternatively, he is kindly allowed to pay the disproportionate amount of **TEN THOUSAND POUNDS** to avoid court :-O

What should I do? Should I contact the hiring company and their insurance? I have no idea whether there have been previous contacts between the insurance companies of the two parties (it's strange that they never asked us about our insurance details).
Or should I just get a solicitor (a lawyer? an attorney?) to handle this?
Or maybe my father should hire one in his country?

Additional complication is given by the documentation received yesterday having been translated to another language: we don't have the original English one.

My main goal is to minimise the overall expenses and, possibly, the hassle, too.

Any advice or request for further details quite welcome.
Thanks in advance.
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Replies

  • mojo1mojo1 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    You should pass it all over to your insurance and let them deal with it. They will be liable for any costs arising from the accident, that's what you have insurance for.
  • kelevrazkelevraz Forumite
    192 posts
    This is the reason why you should inform your insurer when you have an accident.. because right now, you'd be pointing this person towards the hire company insurers to cover any costs..

    The third party insurer could've found out who your insurer was without speaking to you (your dad).

    If THEY hit YOU, then it wouldn't necessarily have been in their interest to go out of their way to find out about damage to your car if you weren't pushing for it.

    Personally, i'd ring the hire company insurer and ask them what to do, you'll probably get a finger wagging for not informing them of the accident, and to be honest, there's no guarantee they will come to your defence, but i think its safe to say that this incident is now going to cost you one way or another
  • phloawphloaw Forumite
    29 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts
    kelevraz wrote: »
    Personally, i'd ring the hire company insurer and ask them what to do, you'll probably get a finger wagging for not informing them of the accident


    Wait, I informed the car hiring company immediately, and that is what's written on the guidance they provide when you hire. They don't mention calling their insurance, we don't even know which company they're insured with.
    We also immediately alerted our own excess insurer.
  • kelevrazkelevraz Forumite
    192 posts
    phloaw wrote: »
    Wait, I informed the car hiring company immediately, and that is what's written on the guidance they provide when you hire. They don't mention calling their insurance, we don't even know which company they're insured with.
    We also immediately alerted our own excess insurer.

    Oh right i get you

    So call the hiring company and tell them the situation, ask them what they did following notice of the accident, did they inform their insurer, did their insurer do what they were meant to do following an accident?

    Have you looked through the paperwork that was sent to you? Is there any indication that the third party have told their solicitors that YOU hit THEM?

    For someone to go through the effort of issuing legal proceedings when they were found at fault for an accident is really quite rare, so it wouldn't surprise me if this is being done on some kind of no win no fee basis (with the third party solicitor being under the impression their client has a winnable case)
  • phloawphloaw Forumite
    29 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts
    kelevraz wrote: »
    Oh right i get you

    So call the hiring company and tell them the situation, ask them what they did following notice of the accident, did they inform their insurer, did their insurer do what they were meant to do following an accident?


    I called them, but they can't talk to me due to GDPR, so my father wrote an e-mail.
    We will pose those specific questions to them, thanks.

    kelevraz wrote: »
    Have you looked through the paperwork that was sent to you? Is there any indication that the third party have told their solicitors that YOU hit THEM?


    Yes, that's what the written reconstruction says.
  • QuentinQuentin Forumite
    40.4K posts
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    You say you don't know who the driver insured with.

    But the hirer will have been given all insurance documents when getting the car!

    The hirer needs to just pass on all communications from the third party to the insurer.

    They should deal with everything and there's no need for the hirer (or you) to be instructing solicitors over this!
  • Holly45Holly45 Forumite
    2 posts
    Hello, we have had a similar situation where a person claimed that my relative hit their car from behind - which they didn't. Anyway this resulted in all sorts of claims being made by the claimant including the wrong location of the supposed accident, what actually happened (no one hit anyone) and even assessors from the insurer for my relative coming to assess the car (to the conclusion that it hadn't been in an accident). This claim was pursued by the claimant to court and I'm pleased to say that the judge awarded the case to my relative with costs.
  • phloawphloaw Forumite
    29 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts
    Holly45 wrote: »
    Hello, we have had a similar situation where a person claimed that my relative hit their car from behind - which they didn't. Anyway this resulted in all sorts of claims being made by the claimant including the wrong location of the supposed accident, what actually happened (no one hit anyone) and even assessors from the insurer for my relative coming to assess the car (to the conclusion that it hadn't been in an accident). This claim was pursued by the claimant to court and I'm pleased to say that the judge awarded the case to my relative with costs.


    That's interesting.

    Did you have to hire a solicitor to defend yourselves or did your insurance take care of the work?
  • QuentinQuentin Forumite
    40.4K posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Kk
    phloaw wrote: »

    Did you have to hire a solicitor to defend yourselves or did your insurance take care of the work?

    Don't give any consideration to hiring your own solicitor! (Why anyway when you aren't being sued?)

    If you take this away from the insurer and instruct your own solicitor you breach the insurance policy conditions which allows the insurer to void/cancel the policy and refuse to deal with the claim

    Meaning if you lose in court then you pay for everything!!

    But were you to lose in court when you were represented by the insurer then they would be paying everything!
  • phloawphloaw Forumite
    29 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts
    Quentin wrote: »
    Kk

    Don't give any consideration to hiring your own solicitor! (Why anyway when you aren't being sued?)



    Because I thought that letter means that my father is being sued!

    And it threatens him to be liable to pay the amount unless he responds a "Notice of intention to defends".
    And a solicitor will now exactly how to handle such a response, while we are full of doubts.
    So I think the main question is what happens if my father ignores that letter.
    We contacted, to clarify this point, the car hiring company and the court from which the latter came, but they're having slow reactions.


    Quentin wrote: »
    If you take this away from the insurer and instruct your own solicitor you breach the insurance policy conditions which allows the insurer to void/cancel the policy and refuse to deal with the claim

    Meaning if you lose in court then you pay for everything!!

    But were you to lose in court when you were represented by the insurer then they would be paying everything!


    Well, we don't have a solicitor, we are only unsure how to answer the letter, as said above.
    I assume it doesn't harm to seek consultancy from a solicitor, without instructing her to do anything, right?
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