Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Another insurance question - other party claims not at fault

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by bluemuppet, May 10, 2008.

  1. Hi Guys,

    I don't usually post here, and tend to be more active at OCAU/MC forums, but I'm very interested to hear from people here as well. For the record, I have been riding for a couple of years - almost daily. My bike is (was) an '03 Kawa Z1000.

    Basically, several weeks ago I was involved in a low speed collision in which I was following a chap in a Volksy passat around a corner in clifton hill. After the corner, he slowed and pulled to the left, with me behind him. As he was slowing and fully pulling over into the parking spot, I assumed that he was, well, parking. However as I continue around his car, his front end starts to swing out. Oh crap! I try to move to the right to dodge, but he keeps coming as he is executing his U turn. BAM I hit his front bumper just in front of his right front wheel, and I deflect off, my bike hitting the blacktop (which has now been declared a repairable write off) and I get up shaken. At the time he was very apologetic, producing his insurance quickly and apologising as he says he didnt see me and says he missed his turn off earlier on hoddle street, hence the U turn.

    Some other details:
    This is in Vic.

    The bike was not ridable and had to be towed from the scene - I gave my insurance company (full comp with Swann) a copy of the tow docket.

    I rang the cops after the incident and because no one was seriously injured they basically did not want to hear about it - therefore it is not on police file.


    My post on OCAU/MC:
    Hi Guys, there has been some further developments in this incident and I would like some input / advice from you guys here who have been through a similar thing.

    Basically he is claiming he is not at fault (surprise, surprise). His insurance company is AAMI. His claim goes something like the following: "I turned into the side street, and there was one lane going each way with a traffic island in the middle. As I was driving, a motorcycle which I did not see coming, passed me while unsafe and collided with my car."

    Despite the fact that he verbally confirmed to me after the incident that he was doing a U turn and he didnt see me, he is now claiming he was driving along in a straight line, and that I tried to pass him dangerously, hence colliding and causing the accident.

    If anyone with half a brain looks at his story and mine, then tries to reconcile this with the type of damage on his car, and the location of damage it would be clear that this was a T-bone type collision rather than me sideswiping him.

    So I guess my questions are:
    If there are no independent witnesses, and we both have fully comprehensive insurance with differing insurance companies, how will they decide who is telling the truth?

    I have been given a letter from Swann outlining his "I'm not liable claim" and my chance to counter with a diagram and further explanation in the next 14 days, which I clearly intend on doing.

    I'm planning on going to the scene and taking photos - proving that there is no traffic island therefore it is possible for him to have been doing a U-turn. Along with several diagrams progressively showing the movements of his car and my bike.

    But I keep thinking - all this does is put my word against his. So who wins? Does this type of thing often go to court? Is there anything else I can do to strengthen my case? I plan on talking to a couple of family friends who are solicitors/lawyers.

    I'm sure someone has been in a similar situation and I'd be very pleased to hear your story.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Draw the diagram [I thought they get you to do that anyway?].

    Take photo's if you think it will help.

    Present the facts.

    Your story is what happened: "The driver executed a U-turn across the path of your motorcycle. You were not able to stop in time or avoid him."

    One thing that may help your case is if he didn't indicate that he was performing a U-turn or reentering traffic; then you should definitely point that out.
  3. .........
  4. Thanks for the feedback so far gents.

    MG what you have said makes sense in that court is a last resort.
  5. Bear in mind that if it does go to Court, it will be civil and not criminal therefore the standard of proof is "balance of probability" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt". Do your research, statement & diagrams right and they may well decide that your version is the more likely.
  6. Never happen.
    Paying own excess would be cheaper and easier.
  7. Yeah true, court is far too much hassle, at least from a financial point of view. Depends on how far one is prepared to go to prove a lying bastard wrong and protect your no at fault claim history :) I wouldn't have either the time nor the money.
  8. It wouldn't be you taking him to Court, it would be your insurance company taking his to Court if they both wanted to stick to their guns. Didn't say that is what will happen, but if it does then there is a different standard of proof.
  9. Try advertising in the newspapers for witnesses, someone may have seen it but for whatever reason they weren't able to stop at the time! Door knock shops or residences nearby as the staff or occupants likewise!
  10. Even if he was indicating, here in Victoria, any vehicle doing a U turn must give way to ALL traffic.

    The OP's problem gets down to his word against the other guy's. He will need to have the assessors look at the damage to both vehicles to ascertain how the impact occured, angles, etc..
  11. You could admit that the driver might be telling the truth. But it would have had to be another incident that the driver was describing and not the one involving yourself. Present the "discussion" you had with the driver, at the time of the incident, your description of the incident wiht the photos to back up your story.
  12. U turn has to give way to all traffic. In writing State to your insurance company that this is what he was doing. Put in your claim. Demand coverage from your insurance company, and Identify to your insurance company that you were not at fault.
    If they argue the point then go for a letter of demand.
    If you have noticed I have not talked about the other driver at all. You make the demands of the insurer. Every thing else is between there lawyers and the drivers lawyers. Not your problem unless you are required as a witness.
  13. Thanks for the replies guys, its much appreciated.

    I completed, emailed & posted my letter off to Swann today, so I will give them a day or two to receive it then follow up with a phone call. I have included detailed illustrations and annotated photos of where the accident happened, with a cover letter clearly and concisely covering why his story isnt a true account of the events (ie, there is no traffic island, the damage to his car doesnt add up with his story). I probably went overboard but I don't care, I wouldn't be happy with myself unless I put in as much effort as possible.

    Depending on what they come back with will depend on my next move I guess.

    Anyone reading this please remember if you ever have an accident and are conscious afterward: TAKE PHOTOS IMMEDIATELY, GET INDEPENDENT WITNESSES!!

    That's what I've learnt anyway. Oh and also a re-affirmation that there are heaps of pricks with zero integrity out there.
  14. .........
  15. And call the cops mate, anytime you think an insurance company may be involved, stand your ground, late for work school funeral whatever, get the coppers there. If he leaves before they arrive because he can't be stuffed? He has just left the scene of an accident and you got him in the bag. If he stays and waits for the cops? You get the story on file, and dont have to argue with an insurance company. Seriously, I reckon that is one of the best free services we get from the boys in blue. It keeps the other bastards honest(ish).
  16. I think you have a good case, and as the others said they can assess the damage on both vehicles and determine who was at fault.

    In the end if the insurance companies go to battle then it will be easy to give evidence as you are telling the truth and can recall every detail.

    I recently leant my bike to a mate as his was in the shop getting repairs.

    Long story short some lady backed into it and knocked it over while he was getting some money from an atm not far from it. Luckily my mate was smart and got all her information there and then, along with 5 witnesses, and made her inspect the bike, agree to the damage and sign a bit of paper. He also called and reported it to the police on there hotline, and made them give him a case ID (always good when going back on evidence).

    I don't have any insurance on my bike at all (not good I know), but I was lucky in this case and the lady paid her excess and I get paid in the coming days so I can repair my bike.
  17. Still yet to hear what happens, last Wednesday my paperwork was sent to AAMI so we'll see what comes of it - Ill give them a call tomorrow.

    Also, if you write off a vehicle, do you get any of your rego refunded? I have about 6 months left.
  18. yeah you do, they send you a cheque in the post :)
  19. BlueMuppet,

    Don't worry too much. The insurance companies come to an agreement, based on the information given and the likelihood to win in court against the other insurance company.

    His assertion you were driving dangerously amounts to nothing. He is not an expert.

    Just state factually what happen and as Ktlutu said, draw a diagram. Notify your insurance company about his admission of guilt. It's still your word against him, but that can still be submitted in court. So it's ammunition for your insurance company.

    Occasionally your insurance company will keep your excess because it's too hard to get the money out of the other insurance company, but generally they get it right.
  20. Thanks guys.

    Quick update - Heard from Swann, we'll move to settle. Meanwhile the recoveries department will try to recover payout costs from AAMI as it is obviously in their best interest. If they win, I get my excess back, otherwise it is deducted from my payout.

    The guy on the phone basically said "we see incidents like these quite often, and usually unless there is an independent witness it can be difficult to win the claim".

    Wait and see I guess. At least it has been a learning experience :)