Advice needed - insurance claim / legal worries

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Insurance & Life Assurance
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baxterbasicsbaxterbasics Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Insurance & Life Assurance
Hi,

Having a nightmare here and am worried.

A year ago a commercial vehicle damaged our parked family car.

I had my own insurer deal with the claim, provide a hire car, and pursue the other party for the costs (which I now regret).

Car was a write-off and eventually we got a cheque for replacement (which never seems enough by the way, though it may be 'fair market value).

I hear nothing else for a while and thought all was sorted, until I get messages from my insurers legal people saying the other party accepts liability for the accident and cost of vehicle, but is disputing the cost of the car hire whilst we were without one. (I'm not surprised either as it came to around £6000).

They are arguing I could have found a cheaper option myself rather than go with the commercial option provided by my insurer. I haven't taken 'reasonable steps' to keep costs to a minimum. My own side say these things usually settle in the end, but I had to send evidence that I could not have afforded to pay my self for a hire car.

My own situation is that I have no spare income, lots of debt and no access to further credit. I am a private renter with large family, living paycheck to paycheck. It isn't hard to demonstrate I could not have arranged my own vehicle.

But now I am advised there is a court date set for next month if the other party doesn't pay up. They are still refusing.

I am worried that the costs of all this are going to end up on me when I was never at fault for any of this. I have no legal cover.

Additionally, in the latest advice I have been asked to provide bank details for court expenses. I can barely afford the cost of the fuel to get to the court never mind any other expenses!

What am I supposed to do? I am scared to even discuss this with the legal team as they may drop me like a stone when they know I have no means to pay if this isn't a winner. (They should realise this anyway given it's a key argument in the case!)

You expect insurers to sort these things out between them, else why bother having it?! I feel like an axe is hanging above me and I have no control over events. Any suggestions of what I can do about this, or better places to go for (free) advice, I'd appreciate it.

Replies

  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    It's a credit hire vehicle, the costs are always disputed as they are more expensive than a normal hire vehicle.

    Generally proceeding get issued, both parties negotiate to reach a settlement as it's normally resolved before reaching a hearing.

    They have to seek your assistance as you were the one provided with the car.

    You can say to the solicitors acting for the hire company you are not prepared to attend court as you cannot afford to. They already know you don't have money because of the info you have paid them; they won't drop you, just try even harder to settle without it going to a hearing.

    Technically, if the credit hire company don't recover the money they can pursue you, but in over 11 years of dealing with litigation and credit hire I never once received instructions to pursue the client.

    Yes, the public do expect their insurance company to deal with it between themselves but if they can't then it does mean the policyholder has to assist (it's in the t&C's of insurance),
    same as the third part will have court proceedings issued against them (unless the insurance company instruct solicitors to accept service of proceedings),
    the third party is at risk of having a CCJ if the claim is ignored.
  • OnanTheBarbarianOnanTheBarbarian Forumite
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    Don't hide from the legal team,just speak with them and let them know any of your concerns.

    As stated above, this is a credit hire vehicle you have had. The rate charged is far above that which say the likes of Enterprise or Thrifty woulld charge if you wandered into a branch and put your debit card across the counter.

    The reaosn you are being asked for your financial info is to see if you are deemed to be impeunious or not.

    The reason for this is not so the hire company can turn around and stiff you. It is to determine the daily/weekly rate of hire charges that can be recovered from the other party/ their insurers.

    If you are flush and your financial info showed you could afford to hire in the open market place, the rate the credit hire company would be awarded at court would be the "Basic Hire Rate" which would be whatever Enterprise etc charge.

    If you are found to be skint/ would suffer hardship in paying for hire, then the rate being charged by the hire company may well be awarded by a court or agreed by the third party insurers in due course.

    The fact you are limited financially will be good news for the hire company on your claim as they will go for their commercial rate and probably get it.

    For you, the bottom line is just to co-operate with the hire company or their appointed solicitors by answering any queries they have and providing any documents they request. So long as you co-operate and give honest repies/ info, then you have nothing to worry about as far as the charges for the hire car being sought from you.

    (I've dealt with motor insurance claims litigation for over 20 years)
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