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Council Denies Damage Claim - What Next?

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Council Denies Damage Claim - What Next?

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Evening All,
Apologies if this has been covered before, searched and couldn't find much that relates to my case.
Recently a council street sweeper backed into my park car, one of our neighbours who witnessed the incident knocked on our door to tell us, but by that point the driver just drove off  :'(
My insurance company stated I should get their insurance details, however my council would not give this to me, instead sending out a claim form.  I filled this out and sent it in to the council, eventually getting an email that the claim had been passed onto their handlers, Gallagher Bassett International Ltd.  Just over a week later their handlers have come back with the statement their client denies causing the damage and as there were no independent witnesses, the claim is denied.

However, my neighbours contact details were included on the claim form and they were listed as a witness to the incident.  Even worse, my neighbours have stated no one has contacted them with regards to the incident, which I would have assumed is standard practice.

Has this happened to anyone else before?  I would put this through my insurance company, however I don't want to be stuck with the excess charges when it was clearly not our fault.  Anyone have thoughts on what my next steps should be?

Thanks in advance for your time.

Replies

  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    What damage was done? Did you take a photo to send with your claim/statement?

    Now you have spoken to your insurance company, it's been reported anyway and it'll end up on the Motor Insurance Database as an accident. That's what happened to me. Someone rolled into my back car bumper at a red traffic light and I foolishly phoned my insurance company to ask if it should be reported as there was no obvious damage but I was aware that damage may come to light later. They immediately put it on MID although I had never reported it or filled in any paperwork. When I phoned to ask them to remove it they wouldn't and it stayed there for five years. They did say that because it wasn't my fault, I'd not be charged any more for my insurance and that was true. You shouldn't be stuck with any excess charges when it wasn't your fault either.

    I would now contact your insurance company and tell them what you've put on here. Let the insurance company do the work, they need to contact the council's representative and tell them that there ARE indeed independent witnesses and their details have been supplied, if they will check the form you submitted.  The council also needs to be sent a copy of all correspondence. And you need to keep on at them. Don't let them get away with this, it's scandalous! It's a shame nobody got a look at the vehicle's reg number.

    If you really don't want to get your insurance company to do it, then you'll have to contact the council and their representative yourself. What I'd do is write to their rep, with a copy to the council. Let them know you mean business and you are not going to accept their denial. Don't give in. Ever. Phone them, write to them. They are in the wrong. 
  • eddddyeddddy Forumite
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    If you want to persue this, it sounds like you will have to make a court claim against the council for damages resulting from their driver's negligence.

    In simple terms, you would provide things like...
    • A statement from the neighbour saying that they saw the council driver hit your car
    • Your statement saying what you saw
    • A quote for the cost of repairs to your car
    And the council might provide...
    • A statement from their driver saying they didn't hit your car

    The court would essentially decide who they believe on the balance of probabilities. If they believe you, the court should order the council to pay for your repairs.

    (I guess it's possible that the council is playing hardball at the moment - and will give in when they see you are serious about taking them to court.)
  • edited 27 July at 11:31AM
    ian1246ian1246 Forumite
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    edited 27 July at 11:31AM
    If the car was on a public highway, then its a failure to stop and exchange details - a Criminal Offence. Report it to the Police and get an incident number and then go back to the Council and advise them that the matter has now been reported to the Police due to the failure to exchange details within 24hours of the accident - remind them that it is not a matter of whether they deny the allegation or accept responsibility, it is simply a legal requirement to provide owner/insurance details for the mechanised vehicle involved (or allegedly involved) in the accident - a failure to do so is a criminal offence. Once details have been exchanged, then it is a case of the relevant insurance providers to assess responsibility/blame - but from what I've read, you haven't even reached that point.

    If the car wasn't on a public highway (i.e. parked on the street), then that changes things though.
  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
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    Do you have the registration plate for the vehicle? If you do your insurance company can simply look up the insurers of the vehicle for themselves. Similarly they'd be able to contact Gallagher's and get the necessary details. Obviously if all you have is "a road sweeper" then it becomes more difficult in ensuring the right vehicle and driver is identified.
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