Case Study – When The Third Party Denies Any Involvement In The Accident
Following the majority of road traffic accidents, details are exchanged between the parties involved and, whilst there may be a dispute as to who is responsible for the collision, the parties insurance companies are able to correspond with each other and exchange evidence in order to establish who is at fault. But what happens when one of the parties denies to their insurance company that the incident ever took place?
Mr D was involved in a road traffic accident in Leeds in 2015. The third party entered a roundabout and collided with the passenger side of Mr D’s vehicle, which was already established on the roundabout, causing it to spin around in the road and ultimately writing the vehicle off. The Defendant failed to stop and then fled the scene of the accident.
Mr D was able to manoeuvre his damaged vehicle safely to the side of the road and called the police. At this time the third party returned to the scene, without his vehicle, to provide Mr D with his vehicle registration number.
Exchange Of Details:
The third party explained to Mr D that his grandmother was very sick and he was on his way to visit her, hence why he had initially driven off, before finding somewhere to park up and walking back. He provided Mr D with his registration number which we wrote on a piece of paper before saying he was in too much of a hurry to leave and walking away.
Mr D followed the third party back to his vehicle and noticed that the registration number that the third party had provided him with was different to the registration number on his vehicle. Unfortunately, Mr D had left his mobile phone with his own car and was unable to take pictures of the third party’s vehicle. He did, however, make a note of the correct registration number. The third party the drove away from the scene.
Reporting The Accident:
Mr D rang the police back and explained how the third party had given a false registration number. Having had his vehicle recovered, he also rang his insurers to report the incident, who came to recover his vehicle.
The following day Mr D noticed he was suffering from pain and stiffness in his neck and back, as well as pain to his right wrist. Mr D arranged an appointment with the doctors to see if any treatment was required for his injuries. He also rang Michael Lewin Solicitors to enquire as to where he could pursue a claim. Michael Lewin Solicitors agreed to take the claim on and contacted Mr D’s insurers who also agreed for them to pursue recovery of their losses, namely the total loss value of Mr D’s vehicle.
The third party’s allegations:
Michael Lewin Solicitors contacted the insurers for the third party’s vehicle and provided them with details of the accident circumstances and the client’s injuries. The third party insures replied claiming that their insured’s vehicle as not at the scene of the accident and that it was, in fact, in the garage undergoing maintenance work at the time of the accident. Michael Lewin Solicitors chased the third party insurers for evidence of the vehicle being in the garage on the accident date, but no evidence was ever produced by the third party’s insurers.
Michael Lewin Solicitors arranged a medical examination for Mr D, who was diagnosed with having suffered from soft tissue injuries to the neck, back and wrist as a result of the accident. Mr D was referred by the doctor for physiotherapy, which Michael Lewin Solicitors was able to arrange on his behalf. The doctor generated a report detailing Mr D’s injuries that we used to determine the value his claim.
Credibility of the third party:
In view of the third party’s allegations that his car was being repaired at the time of the accident, it always seemed likely that would have to issue court proceedings in order to make a successful recovery for Mr D. Prior to the commencement of proceedings, Michael Lewin Solicitors did various checks on the third party and his vehicle in order to determine how credible the court may find him as a witness in court. Through these checks Michael Lewin Solicitors discovered that, although the Defendant’s vehicle was insured, it did not have tax or MOT on it. They also discovered various convictions that the third party had, including a suspended prison sentence for insurance fraud. In addition, the police advised that they had charged the registered keeper of the Defendant’s vehicle with failing to respond to their request to provide details of who was driving the car at the time of the accident.
Once the medical evidence had been gathered, along with evidence of the total loss value of the Mr D’s vehicle and the excess he paid, court proceedings were swiftly issued against the third party’s insurance company. They filed a defence advising that the vehicle had been sold on two days before the accident, which would mean that their insured could not be responsible for the accident and that they were therefore not the vehicle’s insurers at the time of the accident. This was clearly a different position to the third party’s stance that his vehicle was undergoing maintenance work at the time of the accident.
In view of the defence put forward by the third party insurers, Michael Lewin Solicitors challenged the third party insurers to provide evidence of the vehicle sale. We also produced the evidence we had earlier gathered in relation to the third party’s credibility. Shortly afterwards the third party insurers made an offer to settle MR D’s claim in full, long before the matter was due to appear in front of the court. Mr D recovered over £6,500.00 for his losses. Michael Lewin Solicitors reimbursed the client’s insurance company for their losses and the client’s no claims bonus was re-established.
The following tips may help you following a road traffic accident, regardless of whether or not the other driver has stopped to give us their details:
- Take photographs of both vehicles – try and take pictures of the registration plates as well as the damage to both vehicles
- Take a photograph of the other driver if possible
- Report the accident to the police – you do not have to ring 999; report the accident as a none emergency so there is a record of the accident
- If you cannot take photographs then try and get a detailed description of the vehicles and the other people involved
- Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible
Article written by Tim Driver, Scottish RTA Fee Earner at Michael Lewin Solicitors